take one's lumps

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take one's lumps (third-person singular simple present taking one's lumps, present participle took one's lumps, simple past and past participle taken one's lumps)

  1. (idiomatic) To receive physical abuse and to survive.
    • 1960, "Artful Dodgers," Time, 5 Dec.,
      When frustrated tacklers finally do catch up with him, Arnett knows how to take his lumps. "If I hit the ground tensely, rigidly, and two tons of angry linemen landed on top of me, they'd break every bone in my body."
  2. (figuratively) To endure through criticism or other adversity.
    • 1987, David Fellman, "A Renowned Civil Libertarian," (review of Zechariah Chafee, Jr.: Defender of Liberty and Law by Donald L. Smith), The Review of Politics, vol. 49, no. 3, p. 444,
      As is the case with so many outspoken civil libertarians, Chafee took his lumps. He was strongly criticized by several Harvard Law School graduates.