Expression: To come back & bite you (on the butt)
G’day guys. Welcome to this Expression episode today.
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Anyway, without any further ado let’s jump into the episode and talk about the expression TO COME BACK AND BITE YOU. TO COME BACK AND BITE YOU.
So, TO COME BACK AND BITE YOU is actually a shortened version of a larger expression, which is TO COME BACK AND BITE YOU ON THE BUTT or TO COME BACK AND BITE YOU ON THE ARSE. You can also use the preposition IN THE BUTT or IN THE ARSE, though ON is probably more common. And, you can use any kind of synonym for BOTTOM, for BACKSIDE, for your BUTTOCKS, your BUM, your ARSE. What else have we got here? BOTTOM, REAR END, DERRIÈRE, we often use the French word for BUM, DERRIÈRE, and… So, yeah you can use any of those with the expression TO COME BACK AND BITE YOU ON THE BUTT, ARSE, BUTTOCKS, etc.
So, what does this mean and when is it used?
The definition of TO COME BACK AND BITE or TO COME BACK AND BITE YOU ON THE BUTT is that it’s something that’s said when something will come back, something will return and cause you problems later. So, you’ve done something, you’ve said something and the result, the consequence is going to be negative for you. So, it’s from a literal sense, a literal sense of this expression would be say, you hurt an animal, you did something to an animal that wasn’t fair, it wasn’t just, it wasn’t right. The animal’s gone away and then the animal has come back. You know, maybe it’s a dog and you kicked the dog, and the dog’s disappeared and then later on it comes back and it literally BITES YOU ON THE ARSE. Someone watching you could say, “Well, you shouldn’t have kicked the dog because it CAME AND IT BIT YOU ON THE ARSE.”. That’s the literally sense of the expression, but figuratively it means that your actions, what you did to that dog, is what ended up COMING BACK AND BITING YOU ON THE BUTT. So, if you hadn’t done that negative thing, if you hadn’t done something stupid, something mean, something unfair, something unjust, something silly, then you wouldn’t have had those consequences happen. So, that wouldn’t have arrived, it wouldn’t have taken place, it wouldn’t have come about, it wouldn’t have happened.
So, yeah, there’s the figurative idea of your actions coming back and getting you, and then there’s the literal idea, obviously, of it being some kind of animal that you’ve done something to, it disappears and then comes back and literally bites you on the butt.
So, let’s go through some examples as we always do guys. And example 1. could be you’re in Africa and you’re a hunter. You love hunting animals. Side note, I hate people that do this. I really really do. Guys, if you like killing animals there’s something wrong with you. Please don’t do that. Back to the story, so someone’s gone to Africa and they like hunting animals. Say, they’re out to hunt a lion. So, they’ve got their gun out, you know, their rifle, they’re on safari, they’ve got guides, they’ve got people showing them about, and they finally see a big male lion with a big mane, you know, he’s roaring, and the hunter lines up his shot. He has his rifle and then “pew!” (he) takes his shot but he misses and he hits the lion in the shoulder, wherever. The lion’s injured but not dead. (It) runs away. And then as the hunter gets out of the car and he goes to look around, you know, “Where’s the lion? I thought I shot it. Is it here? Did I get it? Will I have this nice trophy of a dead lion that I can, you know, get the head and put it on my wall.”. And, he can’t find it. And then, all of a sudden out of the bushes, out of the scrub comes the lion and it literally attacks him. It COULD BITE HIM ON THE BUTT, but more importantly it attacks him. And, effectively, the idea there is that you could say, “Well, you shouldn’t have done that because it CAME BACK TO BITE YOU.” And literally, the lion came back and bit him, but also the action of shooting that animal, that poor animal, of doing something horrible, mean, stupid, unjust, not fair, could be considered, you know, to have that figurative meaning of “It’s come back”, your actions are coming back and there’s consequences which are negative for you. You got bitten. You got attacked. So, you shouldn’t have shot at the lion because it CAME BACK AND BIT YOU ON THE ARSE. It CAME BACK AND BIT YOU. Your actions CAME BACK AND BIT YOU.
Example number 2., perhaps you’re a politician, perhaps you’re on TV and you make some kind of stupid remark, you know, sometimes this… Well, this happens quite a bit. It’s not a rare event especially in Australia. Politicians get on TV and say they say something, the person says something racist, maybe something sexist, maybe he reveals a secret about his political party that he wasn’t meant to talk about on live TV. Either way, he says something stupid, something mean, he’s said something unfair, or he’s made a mistake. He’s done something that he shouldn’t have done. And then, as a result, as a consequence he gets fired, or maybe he gets humiliated on live TV, or maybe he even gets investigated by the police, you know. If it is a racist remark or some kind of… something horrible. Anyway, what the basic idea here is that his actions HAVE COME BACK TO BITE HIM ON THE ARSE. So, what he’s done, what he’s said, what he’s revealed, what he has implied, whatever it is, what he’d done has come back and there have been repercussions, negative results. He’s had consequences. So, those things, that action that he’s done, or actions, HAVE COME BACK AND BIT HIM ON THE ARSE.
A third example could be, and I like this one. This one was a funny one that I came up with. A third example could be that you are a bully at school. Imagine that you are in, you know, year seven in Australia. So, you’d be 13 years old, maybe 12 years old. And, imagine that you’re really nasty to a certain kid there at school. You’re always teasing him, you’re paying him out, which means, you know, to tease. You’re making fun of him. Sometimes you… maybe you hit him, maybe you’re a horrible horrible bully. You actually bash the kid. Maybe you steal his lunch money or maybe you steal just his lunch food. Anyway, you do this all the time to this poor kid. And then, you go on Christmas break. You have Christmas with your family, and over Christmas break this kid’s hit puberty and he’s grown, you know, a foot. He’s become a lot bigger, a lot stronger and a lot tougher than you the original bully. You come back to school and you think on the first day, “Where’s this kid?” and, you know, “How am I going to get his lunch money? What am I going to do to torment him, to be horrible to him today?”. And, he shows up and you see him and you’re like, “Oh, shit! He’s huge. He’s big. I’m not going to be able to bully him anymore.”. Imagine that he bullies you, he bashes you up, he steals your money, he teases you, he makes fun of you on that first day, he humiliates you. That would be a beautiful example of you’re actions in the past as the bully COMING BACK AND BITING YOU ON THE ARSE hardcore, really really coming back and that serves you right, you know. You’ve got what you deserved. Your actions CAME BACK AND BIT YOU ON THE BUTT. So, that’s another example.
Anyway, as usual guys, we’ll go through a little listen and repeat exercise here. I’m going to say these phrases in the future tense. So, with the contractions of WILL, and you’ll see what I mean in a second. So, the basic form of the phrase is going to be IT’LL COME BACK TO BITE YOU. And then, I’m going to use synonyms for the word BUTT on the end of IT’LL COME BACK TO BITE YOU ON THE ____ and then the synonym for BUTT.
So, you’re obviously already thinking about BUTT. And so, that’s why I think it’s a good idea to work on synonyms so that you practice these words and you associate them with your REAR END, your ARSE, your BOTTOM, etc.
So, let’s go.
Listen and repeat:
It’ll come back to bite you.
(And we’ll just do that one without any BOTTOM to start with).
It’ll come back to bite you on the butt.
It’ll come back to bite you on the arse.
It’ll come back to bite you on the bottom.
It’ll come back to bite you on the rear end.
It’ll come back to bite you on the derrière.
It’ll come back to bite you on the buttocks.
So, that’s it really, guys. I mean, maybe one last thing I could do here to help you out is talk about the different levels of rudeness or “politeness” for the words here that are used for your BOTTOM. I don’t really think that any of these words are that offensive, to be honest. I probably wouldn’t say BUTT or ARSE in front of someone like the Queen or the Prime Minister of Australia, the Queen of England or the Prime Minister. If I was, for some reason, having to refer to my BOTTOM in front of the Queen you could say things like REAR END and DERRIÈRE are probably the most polite version. And then you could probably say something like BOTTOM, BUM, BUTTOCKS, would be that next level of, you know, they’re not rude but they’re not necessarily the most polite version of the word. And then at the BOTTOM, funnily enough, ironically, pun intended, the BOTTOM of that list I would use BUTT and ARSE. And, I mean, I use these words all the time with friends, I mean, anyone you know really well in any kind of informal situations it’s fine to use these words. Don’t worry too much. Someone could, you know, say to you if they were really being, you know, a bit uptight that ARSE is a really… Well not “really”, but it’s a rude word. But to be honest I wouldn’t worry about it. There are a lot worse words in English.
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Anyway, guys, this has been Aussie English. This has been an Expression episode. I hope you enjoy it. See you next time!