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.

The cites:

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.