pull in (one's) horns(redirected from pull in horns)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
Related to pull in horns: grab the bull by the 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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
draw in one's horns and pull in one's horns
Fig. to back down from a fight. For a minute it looked like they were gonna start sluggin' each other, but then they drew in their horns. We tried to calm him down and get him to pull in his horns.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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]
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.
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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
draw/pull in your ˈhornsstart being more careful in your behaviour, especially by spending less money than before: After making huge losses, the company had to draw in its horns by cancelling some major projects.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
draw/pull in one's horns, to
To retreat, to back down. This expression, which dates back at least to the mid-fourteenth century, refers to the practice of snails, which can withdraw the soft, projecting parts of their body inside their shell when they feel threatened. The snail has no genuine horns. Rather, the front end of its muscular foot has sensory tentacles that look a little like horns, whence the expression. About 1350 an unknown chronicler wrote about Richard the Lionhearted in a particular campaign, “They . . . gunne to drawen in their hornes as a snayle among the thornes.” It has been a cliché since about 1800.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer