pull in one's horns

(redirected from draw in one's horns)

pull in (one's) horns

To begin to act more cautiously. I just got this quarter's budget report, and we definitely need to pull in our horns and spend less going forward.
See also: horn, pull
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

pull in one's horns

Also, draw in one's horns.
1. Retreat, back down, restrain oneself, as in The town manager wanted higher taxes but public reaction made him draw in his horns. This expression alludes to the snail's habit of drawing in the soft projecting parts of its body when it is threatened. The idea was first expressed in the 15th century as shrink one's horns, and the idiom with draw developed about the same time. The idiom with pull did not appear until a century later.
2. Reduce expenses, as in That drop in profits will force the company to pull in its horns. [Late 1800s]
See also: horn, pull
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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