lick wounds

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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

Fig. to recover from a defeat or a rebuke. (Also literal for an animal.) After the terrible meeting and all the criticism, I went back to my office to lick my wounds.
See also: lick, wound
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

lick (one's) wounds

To recuperate after a defeat.
See also: lick, wound
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
For the Conservatives, it was a time to lick wounds and reflect, with former policeman Mr Lehrle - Chief of Staff to Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram - polling 2,629 fewer votes than the 2001 candidate Chris Main.
The champions need to run up a big score and hope for the best.VERDICT: Cats lick wounds
But the pain was anaesthetised by the fact that after several years the worst had happened and, from the depths of National Two, the club would be able to lick wounds before bouncing back a hungrier animal.
With England in Cardiff in six days time there simply will not be the time to lick wounds. There is no time to reflect.
Murray has never been one for shrinking into corners to lick wounds and only the strong and confident will be kept on as he looks ahead.
Somewhere in her late 20s, Vicki is pregnant, and has come home to lick wounds romantic and vague.