lick one's wounds

lick (one's) wounds

To withdraw after a misstep or defeat in order to recover. I think the senator will be licking his wounds for a while after that disastrous debate performance.
See also: lick, wound
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

lick one's wounds

Recuperate from injuries or hurt feelings. For example, They were badly beaten in the debate and went home sadly to lick their wounds. This expression alludes to an animal's behavior when wounded. It was originally put as lick oneself clean or whole, dating from the mid-1500s.
See also: lick, wound
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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References in periodicals archive ?
When a blind and brutal force of nature strikes, there is little that can be done except to move out of the way (if possible) or take the blow and lick one's wounds afterward, thankful that the damage wasn't worse.