Yours, Etc.: Origins and Uses of 8 Sign-Offs
Old English crawe, imitative of bird's cry. Phrase eat crow is perhaps based on the notion that the bird is edible when boiled but hardly agreeable; first attested 1851, American English, 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.
Old English crawian "make a loud noise like a crow" (see crow (n.)); sense of "exult in triumph" is 1520s, perhaps in part because the English crow is a carrion-eater. Related: Crowed; crowing.
Indian tribe of the American Midwest, the name is a rough translation of their own name, Apsaruke.
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.
To admit that one was wrong; recant and atone
[1872+; said to have originated during an armistice of the War of 1812, when an American soldier shot a crow while hunting across the Niagara River from his post; he was forced by guile to take a bite of it; he in return forced the English landowner to consume a portion]