When I heard some one use “chomping at the bit” yesterday, on the evening news, I cringed. For shame say I and so does the Associated Press !
Chomping is eating. Champing is gnashing. But because chomping is mis-used so frequently, it is headed to that horrid realm of being “a newly acceptable alternative” to the correct form !! EEK !!
The original, correct phraseology for when a horse impatiently chews the bit, wanting to get going is “champing at the bit”. This term was most often associated with race horses anxious to start. Sometimes a champing horse would also rear if held back.
Today “champing at the bit” is used to describe a person who is anxious or raring to go.
Let’s preserve these cool little equestrian contributions by retaining their correctness. The horse is not chomping the bit like you would do a quarter pounder, he is champing at the bit, gnashing and gnarling, wanting to go !