A captive Hawaiian crow utilizing a stick tool to extract food native a wooden log is presented in this photo released ~ above Sept. 14, 2016. (Courtesy Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo Global)


Now, the VOA finding out English routine Words and also Their Stories. Top top this show, we check out the origins and usage of expressions we usage in every work American English

Okay, no one likes to be wrong. However when it turns out that we are, in fact, wrong, the ideal thing to do is admit it.

You are watching: What does the term eat crow mean

For some reason, in American English once we should admit that we room wrong, we typically eat something. Because that example, admitting a mistake regularly requires that us swallow our pride. The expression way that we have to forget oneself in bespeak to repair the damage our mistake has done.

That"s right. Or, let’s say you are bragging about something you have the right to do. But it transforms out you can"t. If you insurance claim that other is true once it isn"t, girlfriend may have to eat your own words.

Now, normally eating is a great thing and eating pie is even better. Blackberry, apple and pumpkin pie space all quite delicious. However, one pie that tastes awful is humble pie. Once you eat humble pie you need to admit you are wrong. You, in a way, need to eat humility, which follow to this expression does not taste an extremely good.

Sometimes as soon as we market a challenge, we make a bet. We may use the phrase, "If I"m wrong, I"ll eat my hat." This is a means of saying, "There"s no way I"m wrong." In many old American films and also television shows, this expression is offered as a joke. And the hoax is constantly the same: someone, proven wrong, shakes salt ~ above his hat together he pretends come eat it.

Okay, for this reason swallowing pride, eat words and humble pie, or also eating one’s hat room all fairly easy to understand -- sort of.

But what about eating crow? Why is eat crow a method of admitting you"re wrong?

Some language experts say this expression originates from English writer Rudyard Kipling. Kipling uses an image of eat crow in his 1885 quick story "The Strange drive of Morrowbie Jukes."

Morrowbie Jukes was a europe colonist in India. While traveling one day, he falls into a sand pit and cannot escape. Another man, a aboriginal Indian, is likewise trapped in the same sand pit. The Indian guy stays alive by catching wild crows and also eating them. Morrowbie is full of pride as he yells, "I shall never eat crow!"

However, days pass and he has eaten nothing. Hungry and facing certain death, he finally does what that swore loudly he wouldn"t perform -- eat crow.

Often world have come eat crow once they make really bold, repetitive public explanation that revolve out to it is in false. No just people – the media sometimes has to do it, too.

That"s right. In 1948, then-president take care of Truman was campaigning against Thomas Dewey. The Washington article newspaper predicted over and also over that Dewey would win. The newspaper was wrong.

After the election, they sent out this telegram to the winner, president Truman:

"You space Hereby invite To A ‘Crow Banquet’ to Which This Newspaper Proposes to Invite Newspaper Editorial Writers, politics Reporters and Editors, including Our Own, in addition to Pollsters, Radio Commentators and also Columnists ... Main Course will certainly Consist Of chest Of tough Old crow En Glace. (You will Eat Turkey.)"


Now, let"s hear few of these expressions in a short story.

Four friend live in a little town. Their favorite thing to carry out together is come play basketball together. One of them, Lane, is new to town. He"s really good at basketball and also lets everyone know. His friends warning him the if that keeps bragging, he will certainly soon have actually to eat his words. Yet he doesn"t listen.

"If everyone in this tiny town win me on the court, I"ll eat mine hat!"

Lane was always betting prefer that. That really assumed no one might beat him in ~ basketball.

One night after shooting hoops all day, the 4 friends discover themselves in a mom-and-pop restaurant because that dinner. Together Lane brags around how great he had played the day, the owner the the restaurant comes over through their food. He"s very tall, but walks slowly and his ago is stooped. His solid hands are spotted with age.

Hearing your conversation, the old guy smiles. "I used to shoot a lot when I was younger,” he remembers fondly. “It"s quite a game!"

The friends agree through him. They have actually a great conversation through the old man about how basketball has readjusted over the years.

Lane, however, is upset. No one is talking around his success on the court the day.

But climate he lets his pride gain the better of him.

"Well, old man, it"s nice the you play once. But basketball is a game for young human being like me!"

"That"s the truth," the old male laughs. "My worn down old legs can never go up and down the court the way they provided to."

"Yeah, restaurant work is much more suited come an larger person."

Lane states "older person" together if it to be a poor word. Lane"s friends sink down in your seats, embarrassed at his behavior. The old man simply smiles. He stands increase straighter and also clears his neck loudly to obtain everyone"s attention.

"Well, over there is one point that I deserve to still do quite well. I have the right to shoot a mean free-throw!"

He points at Lane and adds, "In fact, I can even win you, young man."

Lane laughs at this. His friends, who recognize the old man far better than Lane, speak nothing. They simply sit there, smiling, as Lane invites the old man to a familiar free-throw vain the following day.

"If girlfriend beat me at free throws, I"ll ..." roadway pauses, not discovering what come bet.

The owner thinks of it for him.

"If girlfriend lose, you need to wait tables in my restaurant for a week."

Lane agrees to the bet and also they shake on it. Lock arrange to fulfill at the basketball court the next day in ~ noon. Word about the an obstacle gets roughly quickly. The city is that small. In ~ the appointed time, spectators to fill the seats approximately the basketball court.

The rule of the competition space simple. The one to do the most free-throw shots in a heat wins. Roadway goes first. He provides 24 excellent free-throw shots. But he misses his 25th throw.

"Beat that!" he yells, throwing the basketball at the old man.

The old man picks up the ball and also walks slowly over come the complimentary throw line. The restaurant owner sinks shot after shot, all of them perfect.

The old man is still shooting to the roar of the crowd as soon as Lane pipeline the court with his tail between his legs. In the end, the old man made a full of 63 perfect free-throws – a brand-new court record!

At very first Lane is too embarrassed to get in the restaurant. Yet finally, the swallows his pride and apologizes to the old man. The old male graciously offers Lane an apron, then watches as the young male waits on his an initial customer.

As many of the world eating in ~ the restaurant knew about the bet, Lane has to eat crow every time that takes one order. And also then he eats enormous crow as soon as his friend come right into the restaurant. They provide him a really difficult time!

Soon, though, lane is having fun talking around basketball v the old man. Once Lane tells his friends how much the old man knows around basketball, they aren"t surprised in ~ all.

"Yeah, we tried come tell friend that. However you wouldn"t listen. The old guy was a college basketball star and also even played for a expert team."

"Well, friend could"ve said me that prior to I tested him!" roadway throws a towel in ~ his friends.

"You necessary to eat part humble pie. Your bragging was really getting on ours nerves! speak of pie, waiter," one friend says, "I"ll take it the peach pie because that dessert."

After the 3rd day, Lane and the old man decide to satisfy every night after occupational to shooting hoops together.

"On one condition," claims the old man.

"You name it," answer Lane.

"Please prevent waiting tables in mine restaurant. You"re really bad and also I"m shedding customers."

And that"s the finish of this Words and also Their Stories. Just how do you recognize you"re wrong in your language?

Do you eat crow? Or simply your hat? let us recognize or just practice these expressions in the comments Section!

I"m Bryan Lynn and also I"m Anna Matteo.

Anna Matteo wrote this story because that VOA learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

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Words in This Story

admit v. to say usually in an unwilling means that you accept or do not refuse the fact or existence of (something)

brag v. to talk about yourself, her achievements, her family, etc., in a method that reflects too lot pride

colonist n. a human who help to develop a colony

shoot hoops - slang : play basketball

mom-and-popadj. owned and run by a married pair or by a small number of people

stooped adj. (of a person) having actually the head and shoulders habitually bent forward.

fondly adv. in a love way

mean adj. chiefly US, not blocked : terrific or impressive

spectator n. a person who watches an event, show, game, activity, etc., often as component of an audience

roar n. a loud constant confused sound

graciously adv. to execute something through kindness and also courtesy

massive adj. huge in lot or degree

to acquire on someone"s nerves - slang : to annoy someone a lot

with his tail in between his legs informal phrase : through a emotion of being embarrassed or ashamed especially because one has actually been defeated