"Bitching" can refer to complaining or talking behind someone's back. But a bitch is a female dog which has nothing to do with it.

How did "bitching" become representative for complaining or talking behind someone's back? Is there history behind this use?

  • That's not what bitching means to me. It means complaining. Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 8:04
  • @MattSamuel I can't find a proof for that meaning of the word but altered question to fulfill both meaning. Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 8:08

1 Answer 1


TO bitch (intransitive):

  • To criticize spitefully, often for the sake of complaining rather than in order to have the problem corrected.
    • All you ever do is bitch about the food I cook for you!


According to Etymonline the sense may derive from the Middle English "bicched" meaning cursed, bad!

Bitch (v.):,

  • "to complain," attested at least from 1930, perhaps from the sense in bitchy, perhaps influenced by the verb meaning "to bungle, spoil," which is recorded from 1823. But bitched in this sense seems to echo Middle English bicched "cursed, bad," a general term of opprobrium (as in Chaucer's bicched bones "unlucky dice") , which despite the hesitation of OED, seems to be a derivative of bitch (n.).
  • 2
    I used to sell patchwork and quilting fabric, and a common term used by ladies who enjoy this [communal] activity is "Stitch 'n' Bitch".
    – Mick
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 8:21
  • ... and bitch in this case almost certainly means "gossip about other quilters".
    – Mick
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 11:04
  • At some level, I think kibitz had something to do with it. "quit kibitzing" would have been known to every chess, wist, and bridge player in the 30's. And while growing up in a blue-collar Pittsburgh neighborhood (60's and 70's), there seemed to be every gradation of pronunciation between bitching and kibitzing. Ngrams shows parallels in time frame and collocations. I'd also point out that "quicha" is idiomatic to "quicha bitching" and sounds an awful lot like "quit kibitzing".
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 5:01

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