Brewer's: Biting Remark
(A ). A remark more biting than Zeno's. 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.
“That would have been a biting jest.”
Shakespeare: Richard III., act ii. 4.