Ankle Biter

Meaning of “Ankle Biter”

This phrase “ankle biter” means a small child or a toddle. As children love to chew or bite things or sometimes people, they are nicked named ‘ankle biter’. Rarely, it is used in a harsh sense as the phrase means a small dog.

Origin of “Ankle Biter”

It is stated that this phrase is not more than 150 years old. It happened to appear in Harper’s Magazine in its publication of September 1850. In the magazine it goes thus; “And how are you, John? and how’s Molly, and all the little ankle-biters?”

This phrase again appears in The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren written by Iona and Peter Opie published in 1959 as “ankle biter” without a hyphen.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Anklebiter by Ted L Glines
Some humans call me an ankle-biter
but I’m a BIG dog – a ninja fighter,
messin with me is too much for YOUR plate,
ya better back off before it’s too late.

Talkin trash and strutting my stuff,
this is my turf and I’m callin your bluff!

My human is one of those silly girls,
dressin me up in ribbons and curls,
but let some guy just get down wrong,
he’ll back up quick – sing a new song.

Roars like a lion – strikes like a snake,
teeth like needles and they don’t fake!

Bonaparte never had a thing on me,
one false move and you’d better flee,
I ain’t your toy – no piece of fluff,
let me know when you’ve had enough,
‘cause I’m a mean one – believe you me!

AnkleBiter is a poem of a person from a low class bragging about himself. He claims that he is a good fighter in response to a negative term of “ankle biter” as some people address him. He also highlights his love for silly girls. Finally, he admits that he is a mean person and nobody should believe in him.

Example #2

Anklebiters by Paramore

What, do you actually expect
A broken mirror to reflect?
You know, anklebiters!
Gave you a false perception
Why do I defend your ignorance (Come on, come on)
Oh why do I defend the state you’re in (Come on, come on)
You should, fall in love with yourself
Oh again
Fall in love with yourself
Someday you’re gonna be the only one you’ve got
You’re gonna be the only one you’ve got
Why you wanna please the world
And leave yourself to drop dead?
Someday you’re gonna be the only one you’ve got
(Someday you’re gonna be alone!)

The lyrics talk about the state of the person and his beloved. The song further explains how he is engaged in a monologue with himself about his love. He is advising his beloved that she should not try to please the world and should only keep herself to herself. The phrase “ankle biters” has been used in a literal sense that people behave like children.

Example #3

Easily in Death by Ceridwen Lewin

“You may be asking yourself why I don’t have a personal trainer and why this perceived persona of  rich pampered girl is what I project, not who I am. Do you honestly think doctors, lawyers, judges, teachers or anyone else for that matter, is who they are when they’ve put on their professional garb and gone to work? Of course, not. All these professionals are people as well, and sometimes their personalities don’t jibe with their public persona. Doctors smoke even though they tell their patients to quit, judges cheat after ruling against those who have been caught, teacher read dirty magazines after a rough day with ankle biters, and I, Ellen Castleton, professional gold digger, like to turn outside in Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park in Princeton rather than work out with some over muscled man with an ego larger than his biceps. The serenity of the surrounding green leaves and gentle lapping of the water put me in much better mood than the bullying yelling of a steroidal freak.”

This paragraph has been taken from the short story “Easily in Death” by Ceridwen Lewin. Ellen Castleton is a freestyle lady who befriends others for money. She narrates how she is a professional like all other working people and acts in the same way. Here she uses the phrase in a simple sense when she talks about teachers that they have to deal with children or “ankle biter” at schools.

Example #4

The Devil as Part-Timer! by Satoshi Wagahara

 “How was that? Kinda assistant manager-like of me, huh?”
“Yeah, until you said that.” Chiho giggled.
“I guess, I should apologize for not stepping in when he got all flirty, though. That must’ve sucked.”
“Like I care what that ankle-biter had to say to me.” Chiho shook her head as he bowed lightly toward her.
“Ankle-biter! That’s good one.”
Maou clapped his approval as the rest of the crew nodded and laughed.
“Man, I’d really hate to work for a manager like that, thoug. Is he even treating this business seriously?

This paragraph shows that Devil King Sadao Maou becomes a store manager who steals Chiha Sasaki, the sweetheart of Emi Yusa, the handsome hero. Mauo and Chiho discuss how they need to deal with Chica to whom they call “Ankle-biter”. The phrase is used in both denotative as well as connotative terms.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “Hosea calls me the best baby sitter, but trust me, I cannot watch over my brother’s kids because they are real ankle biters.”

Example #2: “All children are cute as long as they are happy and playing with the toys. When throwing a tantrum, they turn into ankle biters. My younger sister bit my arm, once.”

Example #3: “At times elders, behave like ankle biters. They don’t get what we say.”

Example #4: “You are behaving like ankle biters. Grow up.”

Example #5: “These are games for the ankle biters and young at heart to enjoy. – Cartoon mania is fun.”