The Real Origins Of Common Sayings
Bite the Bullet
Biting the bullet refers to facing something difficult or unpleasant and enduring it without fear. The expression originated in the American Civil War when wounded soldiers had to undergo surgery in field hospitals regardless of the primitive conditions. When painkillers (like alcohol) were unavailable or if there was no time to administer anesthesia before emergency surgery during battle, doctors give patients a bullet to bite on as the surgeon’s knife went in. At that moment, patients faced a choice: dying from his injuries or biting the bullet and facing the excruciating pain of the operation.