The Washington Post
Sometimes it’s the offhand remark that’s the most telling. Indeed, the way we Americans casually, often unthinkingly, incorporate gun metaphors into our everyday slang says a lot about how deeply embedded guns are in our culture and our politics, and how difficult it is to control or extract them. Consider this list, presented as bullet points — which are themselves so conventional, so central to the typography of mind-numbing PowerPoint presentations, that you can forget what their shape represents.
● Bite the bullet: Meaning to power through something unpleasant, the term comes from the practice of providing wounded soldiers a bullet to clench their teeth on while they underwent surgery without anesthetic. British writer Rudyard Kipling is thought to have been the first to use the expression figuratively. His 1891 novel “The Light That Failed”includes this line: “Bite on the bullet, old man, and don’t let them think you’re afraid.” These days, people are more likely to bite the bullet if they have to accept an unpleasant truth. And politicians are often urged to bite the bullet and compromise — suggesting that coming together to pass legislation is as painful as amputation while fully sentient.