draw/pull in your horns
pull in your hornsor
draw in your horns
If you pull in your horns or draw in your horns, you start behaving more carefully than you did before, especially by spending less money. The world's big spenders have pulled in their horns during the recession. Customers are drawing in their horns at a time of high interest rates. Note: When snails sense danger, they pull in their `horns', which are the stalks that their eyes are on.
draw (or pull) in your hornsbecome less assertive or ambitious; draw back.
The image here is of a snail drawing in its retractile tentacles when disturbed.
1991 Paul Grescoe Flesh Wound Hollywood's major studios were pulling in their horns in the wake of a disastrous Christmas season.