Champing At The Bit
Writing for an audience of millions has some great perks, like having people I haven’t spoken to since high school ask me to troubleshoot their Facebook accounts. But it also comes with some unforeseen side effects, not the least of which is the realization that I have been saying some idioms wrong my entire life. Dunce hat, please.
Case in point: the other day I wrote a post that mentioned that my friends were “chomping at the bit” to get the iPhone 4.
I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes — the saying obviously refers to the tendency some horses have to champ (def: to bite upon or grind) their metal bits. One commenter was kind enough to correct me, I fixed the error, and the proper authorities revoked my false sense of superiority.
Thing is, I’m hardly alone in getting that particular idiom wrong. As soon as I made the change, I started getting emails from people “correcting” me by saying I should change the word to chomping. According to Google, people use the incorrect chomping version twenty times more often than they use champing. Of course, most people are stupid, so this does little to assuage my bruised ego.
Sidenote: I thought that the word “combat” was spelled with a K until the third grade because I was an avid fan of the classic video game Mortal Kombat. This actually cost me a point on a spelling test. Over fifteen years later, I’m apparently still bitter about it.