acknowledge the corn

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

By folk tale, attributed to an instance of a man who stole several horses and the corn to feed them but in court only admitted to stealing the corn.

Verb[edit]

acknowledge the corn

  1. (idiomatic) To acknowledge defeat or admit to a mistake; to cop a plea; to admit to a small error but not a larger one.
    • 1859, J. Underwood, letter to the editor, Samuel W. Cole (editor), The New England Farmer, Volume 11,
      I should like to take a job of that kind on a wager with him, or any other New Hampshire man, and if I did not come out a little ahead on the "home stretch," why then I would "acknowledge the corn," and own myself beaten.
    • 1880, Parliament of Canada, Official report of the debates of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada‎,
      Will the hon. gentleman acknowledge the corn? He does not do it. He is non-committal.
    • 1892, The American magazine‎,
      They had simply to "acknowledge the corn," round up, and — "vamoose"; then, so soon as the soldiers had gone back to the fort, there was no law to prevent their returning.

See also[edit]