with (one's) tail between (one's) legs


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with (one's) tail between (one's) legs

Displaying embarrassment or shame, especially after losing or having to admit that one was wrong. Likened to a dog literally putting its tail between its legs after being disciplined. Poor Jeff left the meeting with his tail between his legs after being called out on all his miscalculations. The former star walked off, with tail between legs, after striking out for the third time.
See also: between, leg, tail
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

with one's tail between one's legs

Fig. appearing frightened or cowardly. (Fig. on the image of a frightened or defeated dog going off threatened or humiliated.) John seems to lack courage. When people criticize him unjustly, he just goes away with his tail between his legs and doesn't tell them that they're wrong. The frightened dog ran away with its tail between its legs when the bigger dog growled.
See also: between, leg, tail
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

tail between one's legs, with one's

Dejected, cowed, ashamed, especially after a defeat or being proven wrong. For example, After bragging about her great musical ability, she lost the competition and went off with her tail between her legs . This idiom alludes to a dog's slinking away in this manner. [First half of 1800s]
See also: between, tail
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.

with your tail between your legs

If someone goes somewhere with their tail between their legs, they go there feeling very ashamed or embarrassed. I ran out of money, lost my job, my house, my girlfriend. I came home to Sydney with my tail between my legs. When Emma had left America last, it had been with her tail between her legs. Note: Dogs often go off with their tails down when they have been hit or shouted at.
See also: between, leg, tail
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

with your tail between your legs

in a state of dejection or humiliation. informal
See also: between, leg, tail
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

with your tail between your ˈlegs

(informal) feeling ashamed, embarrassed or unhappy because you have been defeated or punished: They thought they would win easily, but they’ve gone home with their tails between their legs.
This idiom refers to the way a dog behaves when it is punished.
See also: between, leg, tail
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

with (one's) tail between (one's) legs

In a state of humiliation or dejection.
See also: between, leg, tail
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.

with one's tail between one's legs, (to go off with)

With a feeling of shame or embarrassment. The expression alludes to a dog that slinks off in defeat, a usage dating from about 1400. The transfer to human beings had taken place by the 1800s. W. E. Norris used it in Thirlby Hall (1884), “We shall have you back here very soon . . . with your tail between your legs.” The French have an identical phrase, s’en aller la queue entre les jambes.
See also: between, go, off, tail
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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