Eat One’s Words – Idiom, Meaning & Origin

Photo of author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Have you ever heard someone say, “You’re going to eat those words!”? It’s a strange statement, and it actually has nothing to do with actual eating of anything. It’s all about regret, and I’ll explain the true meaning behind the phrase eat your words and show you how to use it in a sentence.

Meaning of the Eat One’s Words Idiom

Eat Ones Words – Idiom Meaning Origin

When someone is forced to eat their words, they aren’t participating in a new diet trend. It means they’re taking back what they said earlier, usually because they were proven wrong or their predictions didn’t pan out.

Imagine declaring with absolute certainty that your favorite football team will triumph, only to see them lose spectacularly. Yes, it’s time to dine on some delicious declarations.

Origin and Etymology of Eat Your Words

Eat Your Words Ngram
Eat your words usage trend.

Feast your eyes on this: the phrase eat your words is said to have originated in the Middle Ages, appearing in print for the first time in the 1500s. Yes, our linguistic ancestors were munching on metaphorical morsels even back then!

The expression was initially introduced in a sixteenth-century pamphlet John Calvin wrote regarding Psalm 62: “God eateth not his word when he hath once spoken.”

Then, in the 1600s, Sir Walter Raleigh said, “Nay wee’le make you confesse… and eat your own words,” in his memoirs.

But it wasn’t until the 1700s that the phrase’s popularity really took off as it entered mainstream use.

Synonyms for Eat Your Words

  • Swallow one’s words
  • Take back what one said
  • Retract one’s statement
  • Eat humble pie

Eat One’s Words Idiom Examples in a Sentence

Eat Ones Words – Idiom Meaning Origin 1

Ready for some flavorful examples? Let’s dish them out!

  • After ridiculing my fashion choices, John had to eat his words when I won the best-dressed award at the party.
  • Falsely predicting a landslide victory, the politician had to eat his words after losing the election.
  • The naysayers had to eat their words when the underdog team emerged victorious in the soccer match.
  • After belittling the new tech start-up, the analyst ate his words when the company went public, and shares skyrocketed.
  • Mary was sure it would rain on our picnic day but ate her words when the sun shone brightly.
  • Skeptics will eat their words once they see the success of our eco-friendly initiative.
  • I’m so confident in my recipe that I promise to eat my words if it doesn’t win the bake-off!
  • Tom claimed he could complete the project in a week. Guess who had to eat his words on Monday?
  • The critics who panned my first book are now eating their words after my second became a USA TODAY bestseller.
  • “If I’m wrong about this forecast,” the weatherman joked, “I’ll literally eat my words on air!”

Don’t Choke on Your Words

And that’s my detailed yet simple breakdown of the idiom eat one’s words. While no one enjoys a main course of mistaken declarations, it’s a powerful reminder that our words carry weight—and sometimes, they come served on a platter when we least expect it!