E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Biting Remark (A).
A remark more biting than Zenos. Nearchos ordered Zeno the philosopher to be pounded to death in a mortar. When he had been pounded some time, he told Nearchos he had an important secret to communicate to him; but, when the tyrant bent over the mortar to hear what Zeno had to say, the dying man bit off his ear.