take the bull by the horns

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • v take the bull by the horns face a difficulty and grapple with it without avoiding it
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Take the bull by the horns to face a danger or difficulty with courage, to take the initiative boldly in a struggle
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Quotations

  • Josh Billings
    Josh%20Billings
    “Don't take the bull by the horns, take him by the tail; then you can let go when you want to.”

Idioms

Take the bull by its horns - Taking a bull by its horns would be the most direct but also the most dangerous way to try to compete with such an animal. When we use the phrase in everyday talk, we mean that the person we are talking about tackles their problems directly and is not worried about any risks involved.
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
M.E. bole, prob. Scand. bole, boli; most prob. cog. with Bellow.

Usage

In literature:

Taking the bull by the horns, Bob began a conversation with the driver.
"Bob Hunt in Canada" by George W. Orton
I've a good mind to take the bull by the horns myself.
"Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo" by E. Phillips Oppenheim
At length, however, this peril became so imminent that the pair agreed to take the bull by the horns and deal with it forthwith.
"The Adventures of Dick Maitland" by Harry Collingwood
Gathering together what resolution he could, Harper determined to take the bull by the horns.
"The 4-D Doodler" by Graph Waldeyer
I felt that I must take the bull by the horns and find out whether you suspected me or not.
"A Master of Mysteries" by L. T. Meade
There was only one way open to me: to take the bull by the horns.
"My Reminiscences of the Anglo-Boer War" by Ben Viljoen
He decided to "take the bull by the horns," and settle the question before he sailed the next day.
"Asiatic Breezes" by Oliver Optic
It's always best to take the bull by the horns.
"The Radio Boys Trailing a Voice" by Allen Chapman
Only if it was me I'd take the bull by the horns and see it through.
"Left Guard Gilbert" by Ralph Henry Barbour
Should he take the bull by the horns, and advance boldly to attack the monster in its own den?
"The Sign of the Spider" by Bertram Mitford
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In news:

Be proactive, take the bull by the horns .
A US soldier that's been serving in Iraq will take the Bucking Bull by the Horns.
Be proactive, take the bull by the horns.
To combat the economic challenges facing America, President-elect Barack Obama's administration has decided to take the bull by the horns and create a new position in the office of the vice president.
Whereas, if you take the bull by the horns and decide to transform yourself — and I was lucky enough to ...
Taking the Bull by the Horns.
Current Guns N' Roses lead guitarist Dj Ashba is no stranger to the perils of bullying and has recently become a spokesman foe the website BullyVille.com, who's motto is 'Take the bull by the horns.
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