|1.||See also carrion crow any large gregarious songbird of the genus Corvus, esp C. corone (the carrion crow) of Europe and Asia: family Corvidae. Other species are the raven, rook, and jackdaw and all have a heavy bill, glossy black plumage, and rounded wingsRelated: corvine|
|2.||any of various other corvine birds, such as the jay, magpie, and nutcracker|
|3.||any of various similar birds of other families|
|4.||offensive an old or ugly woman|
|5.||short for crowbar|
|6.||as the crow flies as directly as possible|
|7.||informal (US), (Canadian) eat crow to be forced to do something humiliating|
|8.||slang (Brit), (Austral) (interjection) stone the crows an expression of surprise, dismay, etc|
|[Old English crāwa; related to Old Norse krāka, Old High German krāia, Dutch kraai]|
|3.||(esp of babies) to utter cries of pleasure|
|4.||the act or an instance of crowing|
|[Old English crāwan; related to Old High German krāen, Dutch kraaien]|
To suffer a humiliating experience: “The organizers had to eat crow when the fair they had sworn would attract thousands drew scarcely a hundred people.” The phrase probably refers to the fact that crow meat tastes terrible.
Also, eat dirt or humble pie. Be forced to admit a humiliating mistake, as in When the reporter got the facts all wrong, his editor made him eat crow. The first term's origin has been lost, although a story relates that it involved a War of 1812 encounter in which a British officer made an American soldier eat part of a crow he had shot in British territory. Whether or not it is true, the fact remains that crow meat tastes terrible. The two variants originated in Britain. Dirt obviously tastes bad. And humble pie alludes to a pie made from umbles, a deer's undesirable innards (heart, liver, entrails). [Early 1800s] Also see eat one's words.