My dear husband, Matt, loves idioms but sometimes gets them wrong. He quite often tells me he “could care less” and that he doesn’t “mix words”. He rolls his eyes every time I correct him. He couldn’t care less that I’m not mincing words with him.
I questioned Matt last week when he said our dog was “chomping at the bit” to take a walk.
“Do you mean he’s champing at the bit?” I asked.
“No”, my husband responded. “He’s chomping at the bit. Look it up.”
It was my turn to roll my eyes. I hate when he’s first to say we should look up something in the dictionary.
Imagine my surprise when we discovered Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary has these definitions:
chomp: intransitive verb.
champ: intransitive verb.
“See!”, I said to Matt. “When the dictionary lists the word it’s supposed to be, as part of the definition, that proves it!”
There is a lot of eye rolling in our household. My favourite dictionary had let me down! The original idiom was “champing at the bit”, but because language is constantly evolving “chomping at the bit” is now also acceptable.
But I’ll still be “champing” at the bit for Matt to mix his words again.
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