eat crow

eat crow

Meaning

  • being proven wrong after taking a strong stand
  • admitting to being wrong often causing great embarrassment
  • being humble when proven wrong

Example Sentences

  1. No that my brother has proved that I was wrong I will have to eat crow.
  2. If I don’t score full marks in this test I will eat crow.
  3. It seems that upon further reflection I was wrong. I will have to eat crow.
  4. Pete was right the whole time. Seems as if I will have to eat crow.

Origin

In the Bible crow is seen as a bird that is not fit for eating. It is thus seen as very distasteful to consume it.

There are conflicting stories regarding the origin.

One states that it originated towards the end of the war of 1812. An American soldier crossed enemy lines to hunt. He accidentally shot a crow. He was caught by a British soldier and forced to take a bite of the crow. Upon regaining possession of his gun, he then forced the British soldier to take a bite too.

It does seem as if that is just a nice story and that the actual version of the origin is as follows:

It is said to have first appeared in San Francisco’s Daily Evening Picayune (Dec. 3, 1851) but there are two previous mentions around the same time. It appears in a story about a farmer who is tricked into eating crow by his boarders. They complain about the quality of his food and he says that he can eat anything. The crow that they give him is spiked with something unsavoury and the farmer eats it but claims, “I kin eat a crow, but I be darned if I hanker after it.”

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