eat crow


1 [kroh]
any of several large oscine birds of the genus Corvus, of the family Corvidae, having a long, stout bill, lustrous black plumage, and a wedge-shaped tail, as the common C. brachyrhynchos, of North America.
any of several other birds of the family Corvidae.
any of various similar birds of other families.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Corvus.
crowbar ( def 1 ).
as the crow flies, in a straight line; by the most direct route: The next town is thirty miles from here, as the crow flies.
eat crow, Informal. to be forced to admit to having made a mistake, as by retracting an emphatic statement; suffer humiliation: His prediction was completely wrong, and he had to eat crow.
have a crow to pick/pluck with someone, Midland and Southern U.S. to have a reason to disagree or argue with someone.

before 900; Middle English crowe, Old English crāwe, crāwa; cognate with Old High German krāwa; akin to Dutch kraai, German Krähe Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
crow1 (krəʊ)
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
Related: corvine
[Old English crāwa; related to Old Norse krāka, Old High German krāia, Dutch kraai]

crow2 (krəʊ)
1.  (past tense crowed or crew) to utter a shrill squawking sound, as a cock
2.  (often foll by over) to boast one's superiority
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]

Crow (krəʊ)
n , Crows, Crow
1.  a member of a Native American people living in E Montana
2.  the language of this people, belonging to the Siouan family

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. crawe, imitative of bird's cry. Phrase eat crow is probably based on the notion that the bird is edible when boiled but hardly agreeable; first attested 1851, Amer.Eng., but said to date to War of 1812 (Walter Etecroue turns up 1361 in the Calendar of Letter Books of the City of London). Crow's
foot "wrinkle around the corner of the eye" is late 14c. Phrase as the crow flies first recorded 1800.

O.E. crawian "make a loud noise like a crow;" sense of "exult in triumph" is 1522, perhaps in part because the English crow is a carrion-eater.

Indian tribe of the American Midwest, the name is a rough translation of their own name, Apsaruke.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

eat crow definition

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.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

eat crow

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.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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