To eat one's words
Word Word, n. [AS. word; akin to OFries. & OS. word, D. woord, G. wort, Icel. or[eth], Sw. & Dan. ord, Goth. wa['u]rd, OPruss. wirds, Lith. vardas a name, L. verbum a word; or perhaps to Gr. "rh`twr an orator. Cf. {Verb}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The spoken sign of a conception or an idea; an articulate or vocal sound, or a combination of articulate and vocal sounds, uttered by the human voice, and by custom expressing an idea or ideas; a single component part of human speech or language; a constituent part of a sentence; a term; a vocable. ``A glutton of words.'' --Piers Plowman. [1913 Webster]

You cram these words into mine ears, against The stomach of my sense. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Amongst men who confound their ideas with words, there must be endless disputes. --Locke. [1913 Webster]

2. Hence, the written or printed character, or combination of characters, expressing such a term; as, the words on a page. [1913 Webster]

3. pl. Talk; discourse; speech; language. [1913 Webster]

Why should calamity be full of words? --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Be thy words severe; Sharp as he merits, but the sword forbear. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

4. Account; tidings; message; communication; information; -- used only in the singular. [1913 Webster]

I pray you . . . bring me word thither How the world goes. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

5. Signal; order; command; direction. [1913 Webster]

Give the word through. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

6. Language considered as implying the faith or authority of the person who utters it; statement; affirmation; declaration; promise. [1913 Webster]

Obey thy parents; keep thy word justly. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

I know you brave, and take you at your word. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

I desire not the reader should take my word. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

7. pl. Verbal contention; dispute. [1913 Webster]

Some words there grew 'twixt Somerset and me. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

8. A brief remark or observation; an expression; a phrase, clause, or short sentence. [1913 Webster]

All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. --Gal. v. 14. [1913 Webster]

She said; but at the happy word ``he lives,'' My father stooped, re-fathered, o'er my wound. --Tennyson. [1913 Webster]

There is only one other point on which I offer a word of remark. --Dickens. [1913 Webster]

{By word of mouth}, orally; by actual speaking. --Boyle.

{Compound word}. See under {Compound}, a.

{Good word}, commendation; favorable account. ``And gave the harmless fellow a good word.'' --Pope.

{In a word}, briefly; to sum up.

{In word}, in declaration; in profession. ``Let us not love in word, . . . but in deed and in truth.'' --1 John iii. 8.

{Nuns of the Word Incarnate} (R. C. Ch.), an order of nuns founded in France in 1625, and approved in 1638. The order, which also exists in the United States, was instituted for the purpose of doing honor to the ``Mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God.''

{The word}, or {The Word}. (Theol.) (a) The gospel message; esp., the Scriptures, as a revelation of God. ``Bold to speak the word without fear.'' --Phil. i. 14. (b) The second person in the Trinity before his manifestation in time by the incarnation; among those who reject a Trinity of persons, some one or all of the divine attributes personified. --John i. 1.

{To eat one's words}, to retract what has been said.

{To have the words for}, to speak for; to act as spokesman. [Obs.] ``Our host hadde the wordes for us all.'' --Chaucer.

{Word blindness} (Physiol.), inability to understand printed or written words or symbols, although the person affected may be able to see quite well, speak fluently, and write correctly. --Landois & Stirling.

{Word deafness} (Physiol.), inability to understand spoken words, though the person affected may hear them and other sounds, and hence is not deaf.

{Word dumbness} (Physiol.), inability to express ideas in verbal language, though the power of speech is unimpaired.

{Word for word}, in the exact words; verbatim; literally; exactly; as, to repeat anything word for word.

{Word painting}, the act of describing an object fully and vividly by words only, so as to present it clearly to the mind, as if in a picture.

{Word picture}, an accurate and vivid description, which presents an object clearly to the mind, as if in a picture.

{Word square}, a series of words so arranged that they can be read vertically and horizontally with like results. [1913 Webster]

Note: H E A R T E M B E R A B U S E R E S I N T R E N T (A word square)

Syn: See {Term}. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • To eat one's words — Eat Eat ([=e]t), v. t. [imp. {Ate} ([=a]t; 277), Obsolescent & Colloq. {Eat} ([e^]t); p. p. {Eaten} ([=e]t n), Obs. or Colloq. {Eat} ([e^]t); p. pr. & vb. n. {Eating}.] [OE. eten, AS. etan; akin to OS. etan, OFries. eta, D. eten, OHG. ezzan, G.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • eat one's words — also[swallow one s words] {v. phr.} To take back something you have said; admit something is not true. * /John had called Harry a coward, but the boys made him eat his words after Harry bravely fought a big bully./ Compare: EAT CROW …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • eat one's words — also[swallow one s words] {v. phr.} To take back something you have said; admit something is not true. * /John had called Harry a coward, but the boys made him eat his words after Harry bravely fought a big bully./ Compare: EAT CROW …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • eat\ one's\ words — • eat one s words • swallow one s words v. phr. To take back something you have said; admit something is not true. John had called Harry a coward, but the boys made him eat his words after Harry bravely fought a big bully. Compare: eat crow …   Словарь американских идиом

  • eat one's words — phrasal : to retract what one has said * * * eat one s words To take back what one has said • • • Main Entry: ↑eat eat one s words To retract what one has said, or apologize for it, usu under compulsion • • • Main Entry: ↑word * * * retract what… …   Useful english dictionary

  • eat one's words — idi eat one s words, to retract one s statement, esp. with humility …   From formal English to slang

  • eat one's words — admit being wrong in something one has said, retract one s statement He was forced to eat his words after his boss proved that he was wrong …   Idioms and examples

  • eat one's words — verb To regret or retract what one has said. He didnt think I could do it, but I proved him wrong and made him eat his words. Syn: eat crow …   Wiktionary

  • eat one's words — phrasal to retract what one has said …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • swallow one's words — 1. To speak unclearly; fail to put enough breath into your words. * /Phyllis was hard to understand because she swallowed her words./ 2. See: EAT ONE S WORDS …   Dictionary of American idioms

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