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eat (one's) salt
To stay at someone's house. I feel bad eating Jim's salt for a week, but his house is closer to the meeting site than any hotel.
eat (one's) words
To retract, regret, or feel foolish about what one has previously said. You think I can't get an A in this class, but I'll make you eat your words when we get our report cards! After my negative prediction for the season, I certainly ate my words when the team started out undefeated.
vulgar slang To perform cunnilingus on a woman.
eat (something or someone) for breakfast
To defeat, complete, or handle something easily. Often used as part of a boast. He can challenge me all he wants, I'm not worried! I eat chumps like him for breakfast! If anyone can write a term paper in one night, it's Rich—he eats assignments like that for breakfast!
eat high on the hog
To prosper or otherwise live very well. It refers to the rich being able to afford the choicest cut of meat, which, from a pig, is higher up on the animal. They've been eating high on the hog ever since David won the lottery. It must be a shock for them having to count their pennies like this—they're used to eating high on the hog, after all.
eat (something) off
To erode or wear something away. A very corrosive substance must have eaten off this part of the pipe.
eat (something) out of (something)
To eat something straight from its box or container, rather than portioning it onto a plate. I can't eat chips out of the bag anymore because I always end up eating all of them!
eat and run
To eat and then leave very soon after. I'm sorry to eat and run, but I have to catch the next train back to the city. Stella had to eat and run so I barely got to talk to her tonight.
To erode or wear something away. Don't use that harsh cleaner—it will eat away at a soft metal like this.
To admit that one is wrong, usually when doing so triggers great embarrassment or shame. Ugh, now that my idea has failed, I'll have to eat crow in the board meeting tomorrow. I think Ellen is a perfectionist because the thought of having to eat crow terrifies her.
eat humble pie
To admit that one is wrong, usually when doing so triggers great embarrassment or shame. Ugh, now that my idea has failed, I'll have to eat humble pie in the board meeting tomorrow. I think Ellen is a perfectionist because the thought of having to eat humble pie terrifies her.
To eat at one's home, as opposed to eating at a restaurant ("eating out"). Neither of us felt like going out, so we ate in tonight.
eat it up
1. Literally, to eat something, especially to eat all of it. Often used as an imperative. I know lasagna isn't your favorite, kiddo, but if you want dessert, you've got to eat it up. Go on, eat it up. It will make you feel better.
2. To believe unquestioningly that something is true. I told them that I like this stupid school, and they totally ate it up—I guess I'm a pretty good actress.
3. To thoroughly enjoy something. When anyone showers the baby with love and affection, she just eats it up! Great job on the presentation—the board is going to eat it up.
eat like a bird
To not eat very much. The phrase evokes the image of a pecking bird. Don't worry about making extra food for Kim, she eats like a bird.
eat like a horse
To eat large quantities of food. Kim is staying for dinner, and she eats like a horse, so you better make some extra food.
eat like a pig
To eat large quantities of food and/or to eat sloppily. Kim is staying for dinner, and she eats like a pig, so you better make some extra food. Quit eating like a pig in this fancy restaurant—you're spilling stuff all over the tablecloth!
1. To dine outside of one's home, as at a restaurant. Let's eat out tonight—I don't feel like cooking.
2. To eat the inner part of something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "eat" and "out." Ugh, it looks like those bugs have eaten out all of the tomatoes in my garden
3. To criticize one harshly. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "eat" and "out." The teacher will eat you out if you come in without your homework again today.
4. vulgar slang To perform cunnilingus. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "eat" and "out."
eat through (something)
To erode or wear through something. Don't use that harsh cleaner—it will eat through a soft metal like this.
1. verb To eat, especially to completely finish one's food. A noun or pronoun can be used between "eat" and "up." Often used as an imperative. Kim may be tiny, but she has a big appetite and will eat up anything you put in front of her. We've got to leave soon, kids, so eat up. Eat your vegetables up if you want to grow up strong.
2. verb To bite one excessively, as of insects. A noun or pronoun can be used between "eat" and "up." If you're outside at dusk, the mosquitos will eat you up.
3. verb To take or require a lot of some resource. A noun or pronoun can be used between "eat" and "up." I'm in a poor financial state because my hospital bills have eaten up so much of my money.
4. verb To believe unquestioningly that something is true. A noun or pronoun can be used between "eat" and "up." I told them that I like this stupid school, and they totally ate it up—I guess I'm a pretty good actress.
5. verb To thoroughly enjoy something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "eat" and "up." The baby just eats up everyone's love and affection.
6. verb To continually bother or worry someone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "eat" and "up." The precarious state of my finances has really begun to eat me up. I'm worried that your critical comments have begun to eat Tiffany up—she seems very subdued these days.
7. verb To overwhelm and/or easily defeat one due to being more aggressive, powerful, etc. A noun or pronoun can be used between "eat" and "up." Our team isn't very good, and I'm worried that the competition at this level will eat us up.
1. To be subject to insults and harsh treatment. Because of all the bragging I'd done beforehand, my friends made me eat dirt for finishing last in the race.
2. To retract, regret, or feel foolish about what one has previously said. You think I can't get an A in this class, but I'll make you eat dirt when we get our report cards! After my negative prediction for the season, I certainly ate dirt when the team started out undefeated.
eat the bread of idleness
To eat food that one has not personally earned. This phrase comes from the Bible. I refuse to eat the bread of idleness.
1. rude slang An interjection expressing anger or contempt. A: "Wow, you're a lousy mechanic, Ben." B: "Eat shit, Randy!"
2. rude slang To accept poor, usually demeaning, treatment. How long do you expect these poor interns to eat shit here?
rude slang To accept poor, usually demeaning, treatment. How long do you expect these poor interns to eat crap here?
the sow that eats her farrow
Ireland. A reference to James Joyce's description in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man of the country oppressing or exploiting its citizens. If the people do not vote to pass this referendum, we will know that the country remains the sow that eats her farrow.
eat (a meal) outand dine out
to eat a meal at a restaurant. I like to eat a meal out every now and then. Yes, it's good to eat out and try different kinds of food. It costs a lot of money to dine out often.
eat and run
Fig. to eat a meal or a snack quickly and then leave. Well, I hate to eat and run but I have to take care of some errands. I don't invite John to dinner anymore because he always has some excuse to eat and run.
1. . Fig. to display total humility, especially when shown to be wrong. Well, it looks like I was wrong, and I'm going to have to eat crow. I'll be eating crow if I'm not shown to be right.
2. Fig. to be shamed; to admit that one was wrong. When it became clear that they had arrested the wrong person, the police had to eat crow. Mary talked to Joe as if he was an uneducated idiot, till she found out he was a college professor. That made her eat crow.
eat humble pie
to act very humble when one is shown to be wrong. I think I'm right, but if I'm wrong, I'll eat humble pie. You think you're so smart. I hope you have to eat humble pie.
to eat a meal at home. I really don't want to eat in tonight. Let's eat in. I'm tired.
eat in (to something)
to erode into something; to etch something. The acidic water ate into the rocks on the shore. The acid ate in and weakened the structure.
eat like a bird
Fig. to eat only small amounts of food; to peck at one's food. Jane is very slim because she eats like a bird. Bill is trying to lose weight by eating like a bird.
eat like a horse
Fig. to eat large amounts of food. No wonder he's so fat. He eats like a horse. John works like a horse and eats like a horse, so he never gets fat.
to eat a meal away from home, as at a restaurant. I just love to eat out every now and then. Let's eat out tonight. I'm tired.
eat someone up
1. . Lit. to consume the flesh of someone. The big bad wolf said he was going to eat you up! The bear ate up the fish.
2. Fig. [for an idea] to consume a person. The whole idea of visiting Australia was just eating her up. The obsession to own a car was eating up my brother and his friends.
3. Fig. [for insects] to bite a person all over. These mosquitoes are just eating me up! The bugs literally ate up all the hikers.
4. Fig. [for someone] to overwhelm and devastate someone. The guy is a devil! He just eats up people! Fred will just eat you up. He is a vicious administrator.
eat something away
to erode something; to consume something bit by bit. The acid ate the finish away. It ate away the finish.
eat something out
1. . to eat some kind of meal or a particular food away from home, as at a restaurant. We eat fish out, but we don't cook it at home. We may eat out a meal or two, but certainly not every meal.
2. [for something or an animal] to consume the inside of something. The ants ate the inside of the pumpkin out. The ants ate out the pumpkin.
eat something up
1. . and eat an animal up Lit. to devour all of some food or an animal. They ate the turkey up, and no one had to eat leftovers. The lion ate up the zebra very quickly.
2. Fig. to consume something rapidly, such as money. Running this household eats my income up. The car really eats up gas.
3. Fig. to believe something. Those people really eat that stuff up about tax reduction. They'll eat up almost anything you tell them.
4. Fig. to appreciate something. The audience liked my singing; they really ate it up. The stuff about the federal budget went over well. They really ate up the whole story.
eat and run
Depart immediately after consuming a meal; also, leave in a hurry. For example, Sorry, but I'll have to eat and run or I'll miss the last train, or Jim runs a meeting so efficiently that in effect it's eat and run. [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]
Also, eat dirt or humble pie . Be forced to admit a humiliating mistake, as in When the reporter got the facts all wrong, his editor made him eat crow. The first term's origin has been lost, although a story relates that it involved a War of 1812 encounter in which a British officer made an American soldier eat part of a crow he had shot in British territory. Whether or not it is true, the fact remains that crow meat tastes terrible. The two variants originated in Britain. Dirt obviously tastes bad. And humble pie alludes to a pie made from umbles, a deer's undesirable innards (heart, liver, entrails). [Early 1800s] Also see eat one's words.
Have a meal at home, as in Are we eating in tonight? [Colloquial; second half of 1900s] Also see eat out, def. 1.
eat like a bird
Eat very little, as in Jan is very thin-she eats like a bird. This simile alludes to the mistaken impression that birds don't eat much (they actually do, relative to their size), and dates from the first half of the 1900s. An antonym is eat like a horse, dating from the early 1700s, and alluding to the tendency of horses to eat whatever food is available. For example, I never have enough food for Ellen-she eats like a horse!
1. Have a meal outside one's home, usually at a restaurant. For example, We're almost out of groceries, so let's eat out tonight. [Second half of 1900s] For the antonym, see eat in.
2. eat someone out Also, eat someone up. Rebuke or scold someone sharply, as in He was always eating out the kids, or Why are you eating me up? I haven't done anything wrong. This slangy synonym for chew out probably originated as a euphemism for eat someone's ass out. It dates from the 1940s, the variant from the 1840s. Also see the subsequent entries beginning with eat out.
Also, eat crap. Submit to degrading treatment, as in He refused to eat shit from the coach. James T. Farrell had the one term in Grandeur (1930), "They don't eat nobody's crap," and Mario Puzo the other in Dark Arena (1955), "He'd eaten shit all week." [ Vulgar slang; second half of 1800s]
1. Consume completely, as in No television until you eat up your dinner, or This quarter's expenses have eaten up all my spare cash. The literal use (first example) dates from the early 1500s, the figurative from the early 1600s.
2. Enjoy avidly, as in She simply eats up the publicity. [Late 1800s]
3. Believe unquestioningly, be gullible, as in He'll eat up whatever the broker tells him. [Slang; early 1900s]
4. Defeat completely, as in This new fighter just eats up every opponent. [Slang; c. 1830]
5. See eat out, def. 2.
eat like a bird
If you eat like a bird, you eat very little. She ate like a bird, refused a glass of wine, and was only interested in talking about her work. My younger daughter eats like a bird.
If someone eats crow, they admit that they have been wrong and apologize. He wanted to make his critics eat crow. I didn't want to eat crow the rest of my life if my theories were wrong. Note: The usual British expression is eat humble pie.
eat like a horseINFORMAL
If someone eats like a horse, they eat a lot because they have a large appetite. When Kelly is on medication, he eats like a horse.
eat humble pie
If someone eats humble pie, they admit that they have been wrong and apologize. The Queen's Press secretary was forced to eat humble pie yesterday and publicly apologize to the duchess. The critics were too quick to give their verdict on us. We hope they'll be eating humble pie before the end of the season. Note: Humble pie is sometimes used in other structures with a similar meaning. After their victory, he took delight in handing out large helpings of humble pie to just about everyone. Note: `Umbles' is an old word for the guts and offal (= organs such as the liver) of deer. When rich people had the good parts of the meat to eat, the `umbles' were made into a pie for their servants. As `umbles' pie was eaten by `humble' people, the two words gradually became confused. `Humble pie' came to be used to refer to something humiliating or unpleasant.
eat like a pigINFORMAL
If someone eats like a pig, they eat a lot of food, often in a greedy or unpleasant manner. He was the sort who could eat like a pig and never put on weight. They ate like pigs. I'd never seen anybody eat like this.
eat the bread of idlenesseat food that you have not worked for. literary
This phrase appears in the description of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:27: ‘She…eateth not the bread of idleness’.
eat crowbe humiliated by your defeats or mistakes. North American informal
In the USA ‘boiled crow’ has been a metaphor for something extremely disagreeable since the late 19th century.
eat dirtsuffer insults or humiliation. informal
In the USA eat dirt also has the sense of ‘make a humiliating retraction’ or ‘eat your words’.
eat like a horseeat heartily and greedily.
eat humble piemake a humble apology and accept humiliation.
Humble pie is from a mid 19th-century pun based on umbles , meaning ‘offal’, which was considered to be an inferior food.
1998 Spectator A white youth behind us did shout racial abuse. But…after the game was over his companions forced him to come up to Darcus to eat humble pie.
ˌeat humble ˈpie(British English) (American English eat ˈcrow) say and show that you are sorry for a mistake that you made: I had to eat humble pie when Harry, who I said would never have any success, won first prize.This comes from a pun on the old word umbles, meaning ‘offal’ (= the inside parts of an animal), which was considered inferior food.
eat like a ˈbirdeat very little: She’s so afraid of putting on weight that she eats like a bird.
eat like a ˈhorseeat very large quantities of food: My brother eats like a horse but never puts on any weight.
To eat at home, rather than in a restaurant: It's raining outside, so let's eat in tonight.
1. To eat at a restaurant or away from one's home: I'm tired of cooking; let's eat out tonight.
2. Vulgar Slang To perform cunnilingus on someone.
1. To devour something completely: The children ate up all the food in the house. If you leave cookies out, the dog will eat them up.
2. To consume a large amount of something: The repair bills for maintaining this old car really eat up my savings account. Driving so fast ate all our gas up very quickly.
3. Slang To obsess or bother someone: That snide remark you made is still eating me up.
4. Slang To receive or enjoy something enthusiastically or avidly: That television celebrity really eats up the publicity. The kids love those jokes—they eat them right up.
5. Slang To believe something without question: He'll eat up whatever his broker tells him. I said I was very rich and she ate it right up.
tv. to display total humility, especially when shown to be wrong. Well, it looks like I was wrong, and I’m going to have to eat crow.
in. to eat in enjoyment. (Usually a command.) Eat up! There’s plenty more where this came from.
To be forced to accept a humiliating defeat.
eat humble pie
To be forced to apologize abjectly or admit one's faults in humiliating circumstances.
the sow that eats its farrow
Ireland. The phrase comes from James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: “Do you know what Ireland is? asked Stephen with cold violence. Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.” A “farrow” is a litter of newborn piglets, and the reference is Joyce's belief that Ireland had a history of destroying its writers, admirable political figures, and indeed everything that should be saved and nurtured.