Eat your words


The idiom ‘eat your words’ is used to describe when someone is made to retract or take back something they have said, usually after being proven wrong.


I told John he was wrong, but he didn’t believe me – until I showed him the evidence. He had to eat his words.

I told my friend that I didn’t think she could do it, but she proved me wrong. I had to eat my words.


This idiom originated in the 1500s and comes from the literal interpretation of the phrase – to ‘eat’ something is to consume it, so to ‘eat your words’ is to take back or retract something you’ve said.


When is it appropriate to use the phrase ‘eat your words’?

The phrase ‘eat your words’ is appropriate to use when someone has said something that has been proven wrong and they have to take it back.