eat one's words


Be forced to retract something one has said, as in The incumbent won easily, so I had to eat my words. This expression was already proverbial in John Ray's English Proverbs (1670). [Second half of 1500s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.