Catch Word #41 – To bite off more than you can chew

If you bite off more than you can chew things might be difficult for you. This expression might sound like it is talking about eating but – don’t be fooled – it is not. Another expression with a similar meaning is to get in over your head. You can use both of these expressions when you agree to do something and then find that it is too difficult.


Expressions included in the learning materials

  • To bite off more than you can chewbigbite
  • For instance
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Arm wrestling
  • Mountain climbing
  • Climb
  • To get in over your head

Sample transcript

Jessie: Well, to bite off more than you can chew is to commit to doing something that you can’t actually do. It’s too much for you to actually do.
Maura: Right! So you get involved in something, but it’s more difficult than you realized and maybe too difficult for you.
Jessie: Right! Or maybe you take more responsibility than you can actually handle.
Maura: Right! So, if you imagine that you bite a piece of food and it’s a very, very big piece, it will be difficult to chew the food.
Jessie: Right! So, when we’re talking about this as an idiom, you can imagine that you’re agreeing to do something, but then you can’t actually do it. Just like you’re biting the food, but you can’t actually chew it.
Maura: Right, because it’s too much or too difficult.
Jessie: Exactly! So, for instance, if I agreed to arm wrestle Arnold Schwarzenegger, I would be biting off more than I can chew.
Maura: I think you would definitely be biting off more than you can chew because Arnold Schwarzenegger is pretty strong.
Jessie: Yeah, he’s probably a lot stronger than me.
Maura: And a lot stronger than me, too.

english PodcastAudio/Learning Materials: Culips