pull in one's horns
Also, draw in one's horns.
Retreat, back down, restrain oneself, as in The town manager wanted higher taxes but public reaction made him draw in his horns. This expression alludes to the snail's habit of drawing in the soft projecting parts of its body when it is threatened. The idea was first expressed in the 15th century as shrink one's horns, and the idiom with draw developed about the same time. The idiom with pull did not appear until a century later.
Reduce expenses, as in That drop in profits will force the company to pull in its horns. [Late 1800s]
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Words nearby pull in one's horns
How to use pull in one's horns in a sentence
Added to drinking water at concentrations of around one part per million, fluoride ions stick to dental plaque.
In his view, a writer has only one duty: to be present in his books.
Yet this, in the end, is a book from which one emerges sad, gloomy, disenchanted, at least if we agree to take it seriously.
The fear of violence should not determine what one does or does not say.
The al Qaeda-linked gunmen shot back, but only managed to injure one officer before they were taken out.
Practise gliding in the form of inflection, or slide, from one extreme of pitch to another.Expressive Voice Culture|Jessie Eldridge Southwick
He alludes to it as one of their evil customs and used by them to produce insensibility.
There was a rumor that Alessandro and his father had both died; but no one knew anything certainly.Ramona|Helen Hunt Jackson
Truth is a torch, but one of enormous size; so that we slink past it in rather a blinking fashion for fear it should burn us.Pearls of Thought|Maturin M. Ballou
Under the one-sixth they appear as slender, highly refractive fibers with double contour and, often, curled or split ends.A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis|James Campbell Todd