Word Confusion: Bite versus Byte

Posted June 11, 2019 by kddidit in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Here’s a sound bite for ya: “Don’t confuse what your teeth do with byte” (GrammarBook.com).

A bite takes a chunk out of something: food, joy, ice, hopes, tastebuds, goodness, etc.

A byte tends to add up, eight bits at a time, to create words, text, story, and more.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Bite Byte
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: bite and byte

Young woman biting a green apple

Young Woman Biting Green Apple is under the CC0 license, via VisualHunt.com.

It’ll be her first bite.

Graphic showing a group of eight bits in a row

Bits and Bytes by Fcarmody is under the CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikipedia.com.

Part of Grammar:
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: bites
Past tense: bit
Past participle: bitten
Gerund or present participle: biting

Plural: bytes
An act of biting something in order to eat it

  • A wound inflicted by an animal’s or a person’s teeth
  • A wound inflicted by a snake, insect, or spider
  • An act of bait being taken by a fish
  • [Dentistry] The bringing together of the teeth in occlusion
  • [Dentistry] The imprint of the teeth in occlusion in a plastic material

A piece cut off by biting

  • [Informal] A quick snack
  • A small morsel of prepared food, intended to constitute one mouthful
  • A short piece of information

A sharp or pungent flavor

  • Incisiveness or cogency of style
  • A feeling of cold in the air or wind

Verb, intransitive:
To press the teeth into something

  • Snap

[Angling; of fish] To take bait

To accept an offer or suggestion, especially one intended to trick or deceive

[Informal] To admit defeat in guessing

To act effectively

  • Grip
  • Hold

[Slang] To be notably repellent, disappointing, poor, etc.

  • Suck

Verb, transitive:
[Of a person or animal] Use the teeth to cut into something in order to eat it

  • [Of an animal or a person] Use the teeth in order to inflict injury on
  • [Of a snake, insect, or spider] Wound with fangs, pincers, or a sting
  • [Of an animal; bite at] Snap at
    • Attempt to bite
  • [Of an acid] Corrode a surface
  • [Of a fish] Take the bait or lure on the end of a fishing line into the mouth
  • [Informal; of a person] Be persuaded to accept a deal or offer

[Of a tool, tire, boot, etc.] Grip a surface

  • [Of an object] Press into a part of the body, causing pain
  • Cause emotional pain
  • [Of a policy or situation] Take effect, with unpleasant consequences
  • [North American; informal] Be very bad, unpleasant, or unfortunate
[Computing] A group of binary digits or bits (usually eight) operated on as a unit, as a series of eight zeros and ones

  • A unit of memory size

The combination of bits used to represent a particular letter, number, or special character

Stephen ate a hot dog in three big bites.

Perry’s dog had given her a nasty bite.

Eve took a bite out of the apple, and that was that.

His face was covered in mosquito bites.

By four o’clock he still hadn’t had a single bite.

Due to the mandible’s angle and the anterior teeth not making contact, it resulted in an anterior open bite.

Bite registration is one of three main types of dental impressions.

Robyn took a large bite out of her sandwich.

I plan to stop off in the village and have a bite to eat.

I included minced bacon bites with the cheese.

It’s a small bite of interesting thoughts, statistics and references.

The pie had a fresh, lemony bite.

His colorful characterizations brought added bite to the story.

By early October there’s a bite in the air.

Verb, intransitive:
Does your parrot bite?

The fish aren’t biting today.

I knew it was a mistake, but I bit anyway.

I’ll bite, who is it?

This wood is so dry the screws don’t bite.

Oh, man, this bites!

Verb, transitive:
Rosa bit into a cupcake and moaned.

He bit a mouthful from the sandwich.

She had bitten, scratched, and kicked her assailant.

She was bitten by an adder.

It is not unusual for this dog to bite at its owner’s hand.

Chemicals have bitten deep into the stone.

The trout are biting this morning.

We estimate that a hundred or so retailers should bite.

Once on the wet grass, my boots failed to bite.

The handcuffs bit into his wrists.

Cheryl’s betrayal had bitten deep.

It was a few months later when the cuts in art education started to bite.

It bites that your mom won’t let you go.

It takes eight bits to make a byte.

A single byte can be used to represent 28 or 256 different values.

Originally designed to store character data, the byte has become the fundamental unit of measurement for data storage.

A megabyte contains 1,000 x 1,000, or 1,000,000 bytes.

There are 1,024 megabytes in a gigabyte.

Subsequent error-free testing, with the packet set to eight bytes, confirmed that the documentation had been misleading.

Storage is measured in bytes, one byte containing eight bits, and representing storage for one character in European alphabets.

Adjective: bite-size, bite-sized, bitey, bitier, bitiest

Noun: biter, bitewing
Phrasal Verb
bite something back
History of the Word:
Old English bītan is of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch bijten and the German beissen. 1960s in an arbitrary formation based on bit, as a unit of information expressed as either a 0 or 1 in binary notation, and bite.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

Satisfy your curiosity about other Word Confusions by exploring the index. You may also want to explore Formatting Tips, Grammar Explanations, and/or the Properly Punctuated.

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

The story behind Apple’s logo is clever. Check it out. I removed the background on this image from Weirdest Logo Ever With Top Hidden Meaning by TrillionBrains, which is via the ₦airaland Forum.

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