take it lying down, to

take it lying down, to

To submit to insult or oppression without resistance. The image conveyed by this expression is that of a cowed animal, which accepts its unhappy fate instead of jumping up in protest. This metaphor appeared first in the late nineteenth century and is most often put negatively. It was so used by Shaw in Androcles and the Lion (1914): “I should feel ashamed if I let myself be struck like that, and took it lying down.”
See also: lying, take