Pascal Trégueretymology, publicly affairs, USA & Canadaanimals, folk etymology, papers & magazines, phrases, USA

The American-English expression to eat crow method to be compelled to perform something humiliating—synonym: to eat humble pie.

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I have discovered that to eat crow source in a story that first appeared in 1850 and also became so popular that the was frequently reprinted in miscellaneous versions and also various papers for over 2 decades.

The earliest event of this story that i have uncovered is from the Buffalo everyday Courier (Buffalo, new York) of Wednesday 18th September 1850:

Lake Mahopack has been overfilled so this summer, that the farm-houses about it room filled through visitors. Among the worthy farmers in the vicinity had actually been concerned to death by his visitors. They uncovered fault with the food. This to be bad and that was bad; there to be no method of pleasing them. “Darn it, what a fuss; i cant eat anything,” claimed Isaac. “Can girlfriend eat crow,” said one of his young boarders. “Yes, ns kin eat crow.” “Bet you a hat,” claimed his guest. The bet to be made, a raven caught and also nicely roasted, but before serving up, castle contrived come season it v a an excellent dose the Scotch snuff. Isaac sat under to the crow. He take it a an excellent bite, and also began come chew away. “Yes,” he stated “I kin eat crow (another bite and also an horrible face,) ns kin eat crow (Symptoms of nausea.) i kin eat crow, but I’ll it is in darned if i hanker arter <= after> it.”—Isaac bolted.

The more quickly allusion come this story that i have uncovered is political; on Tuesday 3rd November 1857, The Washington Union (Washington, D.C.) released a post from new York reporting that, on 28th October, during a conference of the queens County Association, “composed of all the energetic democrats in the county”, a particular Matthew Hale Smith had declared:

The solution of the people to the election and also acts of chairman Buchanan¹ have to be emphatic. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, and Connecticut teach the the people think this to it is in a country for white men; the they great the black well, however are not rather ready to give their daughters in marriage to them, no one send them cards of invite to each levee. Our world can endure periodically the ascendancy of black color republicanism²; yet a little dose is usually enough. Lock are like an old hunter in ~ Shoal Water bay. That was uncovered one job dining on a roasted crow; once asked if he was fond the crow, said, “I ken eat crow, however hang me if ns hanker arter it.”

¹ James Buchanan (1791-1868), democratic statesman, 15th president of the United claims (1857-61) ² The ax Black Republican originated together a pejorative appellation condemning the Republican Party as as well favourable come the interests of slaves and also hostile to the understanding of slave-owners.

The adhering to paragraph indigenous The Nashville daily Union (Nashville, Tennessee) of Wednesday second March 1864 shows exactly how the recommendation to the popular story came to express humiliation:

A variety of rebels concerned Nashville daily and take the oath the amnesty. Few of them take it it with “wry faces.” The truth is, castle are prefer the fellow that, on a wager, eat the crow. They can “eat crow; however d—d if they have actually a hankering for it!”

I have actually found an early instance of to eat crow in its current sense and also without explicit recommendation to the famous story in a Republican newspaper, the Alabama State Journal (Montgomery, Alabama) of Saturday 26th February 1870, i m sorry criticised Negro Suffrage in Tennessee, an write-up published in the Mail, a autonomous newspaper:

We advise every Republican leader to clip this morceau and file for reference. That is simon pure autonomous doctrine. It allows out the whole volume of democratic hate of the negro, and also the decision of that party to minimize him come a worse and lower condition of life than enslavement imposed. <…> The mail is candid, however—it is Democratic. Democrats will certainly “recognize black suffrage” so lengthy as they are “compelled through force.” They might eat crow, but they never will choose it.




It has been erroneously said that in the expression to eat crow, crow is a rarely word denoting the mesentery of one animal.

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Those who have actually put forward this individual etymology assume the to eat crow is an Americanisation that to eat humble pie, so the they have desperately make the efforts to find an equivalent of umbles, a word denoting the edible inward parts of one animal, commonly of a deer, native the truth that humble pie alludes to umble pie, the is, a pie made through umbles.