bitten between his teeth

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jnzovy

Senior Member
korean-english
His voice was harder and harder,
bitten between the teeth.

What does " bitten between the teeth" mean?
How can a voice be bitten between the teeth?
What figurative meaning does it stand for?
Thank you in advance~
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Where have you read this? To me it suggest someone who talks with his jaw locked together, so his teeth are biting, and his voice is forced out.

    It is not a standard idiom, but the idea would work in a literary / journalistic piece.
     

    jnzovy

    Senior Member
    korean-english
    Dear Suzi Br

    I've read it in a poem called "Olive Jar" by Naomi Shihab Nye. It's about the feeling of connection to the poet's Arab family and its culture. The man is a Israeli crossing guard. I think you gave me the right answer. Thank you so much for your replying.
    And I add some of the stanzas which include the phrase I posted.

    At the border an Israeli crossing-guard asked
    where I was going in Israel.

    <Excess quoted text deleted.>

    Do you plan to speak with anyone? he said.
    His voice was harder
    and harder, bitten between the teeth.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Indeed, the word gritted seems more obscure than bitten, I might need to look up the etymology of that now!
     
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