eat humble pie

eat humble pie

Meaning

  • To become very humble in behaviour when someone points out a wrong doing by the person.
  • To admit an error and become submissive and apologetic in doing so.
  • When someone enforces an apology after a wrong has been committed.

Example Sentences

  1. I know for certain that the appliance should not be handled this way but if I turn out to be wrong then I’ll eat humble pie.
  2. One may often think that they are smarter than the others but such people always end up eating humble pie.
  3. The lawyer had to eat humble pie in the court because the facts he presented were wrong.

Origin
In the United Kingdom, what is known as offal meat which is the liver, heart, entrails of an animal was known as numbles in the early 14th century. Speculation is that the pies made from numbles eventually be came to know umbles through metanalysis (the process of change in the sound and the use of a word in the English language). Since 1330 the mention of numble or umble pies is common. Samuel Pepys used it in his diary at least on two occasions.

The word humble as an adjective means to have a low self-esteem. So the word play could have been to eat umble pie when feeling humble, which is a likely possibility of being the origin of the phrase.

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2 Comments

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