Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 10:43:56 -0500
From: Jesse T Sheidlower jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PANIX.COM
Subject: Re: the last word on "bite me!," I hope
Richard Spears writes:
I think the *Bite me!* business is just about played out, but I wanted to ask
if there was any particular reason why the original request was for a printed
citation--or the date when the expression was first in print. Few of the
responses actually gave a print date and the earliest recollections are about
30 years before the 1977 date given in Lighter.
First of all, just to clarify things, as the original poster
made clear, the 1977 date in Lighter referred to _bite the big
one,_ not _bite me._
There is no separate entry for _bite me!_ in Lighter. The only
cite for the term is from 1992 and found under _bite it!_, which
has other variants, including "Why don't you take a bite of me?"
from 1949. An important related phrase is _bite my ass_ s.v. _ass,_
first cited in 1954. Note that several phrases under _bite it_
should go under _bite my ass_ instead, and that there should be
a cross-reference to the phrase at _ass._
Other related terms are _eat me!,_ from 1957-62 (and with _eat
(one's) ass out_ 'rebuke' from 1927, euphemistically); and
_blow me,_ in assorted variants.
Now, as for the actual phrase _bite me!,_ the earliest Lighter
has found is dated 1944-61-- i.e., it may have been written as
early as 1944, but was definitely written before 1961. The book
in question is called _Parachute Infantry_ by Donald Kenyon
Webster, published in 1994; it is a military memoir focusing on
World War II. Despite the 1994 pub date, the author died in
1961, making that an absolute final date for the usage. It refers,
of course, to WWII, so one can assume, if not conclusively prove,
its use at that time.
1944-61 D.K. Webster _Parachute Infantry_ 12: "Press a lot of
pants in the Bulge?" "Bite me, buddy, bite me." _Ibid._ 137:
"Better stir it some more, Mick." "Bite me."
These citations came to light after the HDAS was published;
they will be included should we ever be able to update the
Hope this helps.
Jesse Sheidlower, partly on behalf of J.E. Lighter
Random House Reference Dept.
jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]panix.com