bite the bullet
To "bite the bullet" is to endure a painful or otherwise unpleasant situation that is seen as unavoidable. The phrase was first recorded by Rudyard Kipling in his 1891 novel The Light that Failed.
It was suggested by the movie "Bite the Bullet" that biting the bullet meant using a shell casing to cover an aching tooth, especially one that had been broken, and where a nerve is exposed. In the film, the slug was removed from the bullet, the cap was hit to expend that charge, and the casing was cut down to allow it to sit level with the other teeth.
It is often stated that it is derived historically from the practice of having a patient clench a bullet in his or her teeth as a way to cope with the extreme pain of a surgical procedure without anesthetic, though evidence for biting a bullet rather than a leather strap during surgery is sparse. It has been speculated to have evolved from the British empire expression "to bite the cartridge", which dates to the Indian Rebellion of 1857, but the phrase "chew a bullet", with a similar meaning, dates to at least 1796.
The Light That Failed is a novel by the Nobel Prize-winning English author Rudyard Kipling that was first published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine dated January 1891. Most of the novel is set in London, but many important events throughout the story occur in Sudan and Port Said. It follows the life of Dick Heldar, an artist and painter who goes blind, and his unrequited love for his childhood playmate, Maisie.
It is Kipling's first novel, written when he was 26 years old, and is semi-autobiographical; being based upon his own unrequited love for Florence Garrard. Though it was poorly received by critics, the novel has managed to remain in print for over a century. It was also adapted into a play, two silent films as well as a drama film.
In the social sciences, unintended consequences (sometimes unanticipated consequences or unforeseen consequences) are outcomes that are not the ones foreseen and intended by a purposeful action. The term was popularised in the twentieth century by American sociologist Robert K. Merton.
Unintended consequences can be grouped into three types:
Unexpected benefit: A positive unexpected benefit (also referred to as luck, serendipity or a windfall).
Unexpected drawback: An unexpected detriment occurring in addition to the desired effect of the policy (e.g., while irrigation schemes provide people with water for agriculture, they can increase waterborne diseases that have devastating health effects, such as schistosomiasis).
Perverse result: A perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended (when an intended solution makes a problem worse). This is sometimes referred to as 'backfire'.
An erosion gully in Australia caused by rabbits. The release of rabbits in Australia for hunting purposes has had serious unintended ecological consequences.
Self-defeating prophecy, or, the fear of some consequence which drives people to find solutions before the problem occurs, thus the non-occurrence of the problem is not anticipated
A self-defeating prophecy is the complementary opposite of a self-fulfilling prophecy: a prediction that prevents what it predicts from happening. This is also known as the "prophet's dilemma".
In medicine, most drugs have unintended consequences ('side effects') associated with their use. However, some are beneficial. For instance, aspirin, a pain reliever, is also an anticoagulant that can help prevent heart attacks and reduce the severity and damage from thrombotic strokes. The existence of beneficial side effects also leads to off-label use—prescription or use of a drug for an unlicensed purpose. Famously, the drug Viagra was developed to lower blood pressure, with its main current use being discovered as a side effect in clinical trials.
The medieval policy of setting up large hunting reserves for the nobility has preserved green space, often as parks, throughout England and other places in Europe. Likewise the creation of "no-man's lands" during the Cold War, in places such as the border between Eastern and Western Europe, and the Korean Demilitarized Zone, has led to large natural habitats.
The sinking of ships in shallow waters during wartime has created many artificial coral reefs, which can be scientifically valuable and have become an attraction for recreational divers.
Allegedly, straw man tactics were once known in some parts of the United Kingdom as an Aunt Sally, after a pub game of the same name where patrons threw sticks or battens at a post to knock off a skittle balanced on top.