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2/25/2019

To eat humble pie




No one likes “to eat humble pie”. The phrase goes back to the early days of a very class-conscious society, though it actually does not mean what it appears to say. There was no humility in that pie.  Usually the uneducated are said  to drop their letter ‘h’s’ when pronouncing words.  But the case of the humble pie is a telling example in which the letter ‘h’ was added out of ignorance. 

‘Umbles’ was once a common description of offal: the heart, the liver, and the stomach of an animal.  As umbles were not credited with much culinary merit, they were reserved to feed servants and the poor and made into a pie for them.  Very appropriately and logically, this was known as umbles’ pie.

When umbles became an obsolete term and people no longer knew what it meant , they began to speak of ’eating humble pie’, which has now become an expression relating to humility.  Yet in the way of speaking, it still contains left-overs from those early offal days.    



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