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What's the meaning of "bitching" in the following sentence taken from references in 'tfd.com'?

December: I quit bitching with grateful thanks for all the good times, things and friends God has provided me with this year.

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    +1, this is a good question, the term is so idiomatic I can see why it would be hard for a non-native speaker to understand all of it's meanings.
    – user20276
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 22:16

3 Answers 3

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I think in this context, they mean "complaining", but it looks like there are other errors in the source sentence so it's not completely clear what they meant.

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    Yes, definitely means complaining in this context
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 19:54
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    If only there had been a comma after "I quit." Now that would have been an interesting sentence.
    – moteutsch
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 22:20
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    Given the context is sufficiently informal to allow use of the word "bitching", I see nothing in OP's quote that could reasonably be called an "error". Nor do I see anything remotely unclear about the meaning. Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 23:23
  • @moteutsch: Exactly. The phrase "I quit bitching with grateful thanks..." doesn't quite make sense. Did the speaker bitch/make complaints that contained grateful thanks, or did they do it in a grateful and thankful way? Did the speaker quit bitching/complaining, and THEN made an expression of gratitude that was separate from the bitching/complaining? Commented Apr 26, 2012 at 13:45
  • All we need, and cannot expect from a diary, is some break to separate the attitude from the gratitude: "I quit bitching—with grateful thanks..." Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 23:27
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Basically, it's a somewhat crude synonym for "bellyaching," which is a colloquial term for "complaining," as the previous answerer says.

However, when used as an adjective, it's a somewhat crude synonym for "cool," which is a colloquial term for "admirable," "attractive," or "desirable"-- as in the the lyrics to the Dead Milkmen's song "Bitchin' Camaro" (1985):

Bitchin' Camaro, bitchin' Camaro/ I ran over my neighbors/ Bitchin' Camaro, bitchin' Camaro/ Now it's in all the papers

et cetera...

I recall a much older instance of the adjective use of "bitching" in the Dead Milkmen sense--from Jim Brosnan's 1962 book Pennant Race, where he quotes Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Dick Stuart as saying [inexact quote here because I don't have the book with me, but I'll try to remember to look it up when I get home], "I add 15 points to my batting average just knowing I look bitching up there [at the plate]."

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  • Okay--I spent all weekend rereading Jim Brosnan's Pennant Race and The Long Season (1960), only to realize that the quotation comes from Jim Bouton's Ball Four. Here is the quotation, dated March 3, 1969:
    – Yargs
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 21:22
  • "[Joe] Pepitone refuses to take the field if his uniform isn't skintight. Phil Linz used to say that he didn't know why, but he could run faster in tight pants. And I understand that Dick Stuart, old Dr. Strangeglove, would smooth his uniform carefully, adjust his cap, tighten his belt, and say, 'I add 20 points to my average if I know I look bitchin' out there." Since Stuart's major league career stretched from 1958 to 1969, and his last good year was 1965, the quotation (if accurate) probably dates to the first half of the 1960s.
    – Yargs
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 21:35
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    -1 OP specifically asks what "bitching" means in his quoted context, but 90% of your answer deals the far rarer "cool" meaning. Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 23:27
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The literal meaning of "bitching" is to "act like a bitch."

The figurative meaning is to complain. The "bitch" is a complainer or nagger, by implication (though not necessarily) a woman.

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