eat humble pie

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The spoken phrase a numble pie (a pie made from the entrails of a deer) was re-interpreted as an umble pie, then written as (a) humble pie, after which the figurative meaning developed.


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eat humble pie (third-person singular simple present eats humble pie, present participle eating humble pie, simple past ate humble pie, past participle eaten humble pie)

  1. (idiomatic, intransitive) to admit one's faults; to make a humiliating apology
    • 1869, Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl:
      Polly had a spice of girlish malice, and rather liked to see domineering Tom eat humble-pie, just enough to do him good, you know.


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