eat one's words


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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.
See also: eat, word

eat one's words

Be forced to retract something one has said, as in The incumbent won easily, so I had to eat my words. This expression was already proverbial in John Ray's English Proverbs (1670). [Second half of 1500s]
See also: eat, word

eat one's words, to

To be forced to retract a statement, usually in a humiliating way. The term first appeared in a sixteenth-century tract by John Calvin on Psalm 62: “God eateth not his word when he hath once spoken.” In 1618 Sir Walter Raleigh wrote in his memoirs, “Nay wee’le make you confesse . . . and eat your own words,” and in 1670 the expression appeared in John Ray’s collection of English proverbs.
See also: eat