tail between one's legs
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See also: tail-between-one's-legs
- tail-between-one's-legs (attributive)
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- (idiomatic) A reaction to a confrontation, specifically one with excessive shame and hurt pride.
- 2013, Alistair Moffat, Susan Mansfield, Alexander Smith, The Great Tapestry of Scotland: The Making of a Masterpiece:
- That whole campaign was a damp squib, they cranked it up as a real possibility that Scotland might win, and when we actually got there it didn't happen like that, and everybody came home quite early with their tails between their legs.
- He retreated from the fight with his tail between his legs.
- He came back home, tail between his legs.
defeated; in a cowardly or miserable manner