Eating Crow : Phrases
To be proven wrong.
With the fall of the Soviet Union, the communists are eating crow.
An article published in
the Atlanta Constitution in 1888 claims that, towards the end of the war
of 1812, an American went hunting and by accident crossed behind the British
lines, where he shot a crow.
He was caught by a British officer who, complimenting him on his fine
shooting, persuaded him to hand over his gun. This officer then leveled
his gun and said that as a punishment the American must take a bite of
the crow. The American obeyed, but when the British officer returned his
gun he took his revenge by making him eat the rest of the bird.
This is such an interesting explanation of the phrase's origin that
it seems a shame to point out that the original expression is not recorded
until the 1850s, and that its original form was to "eat boiled crow," whereas
the story makes no mention of boiling the bird.
It also seems improbable that the English officer would have returned
the gun after forcing the American to take a bite of the bird under gunpoint.
In reality, "crow" is a word that refers to the intestines of an animal
especially when used for food. The British English equivalent is "eating
humble (or umble) pie."
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