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(See also REVERSAL.)
do a 180° turn To do an about-face, to suddenly and completely reverse one’s previous position, approach, or point of view. A circle is 360°; to turn 180° is literally to turn halfway around and face the opposite direction. It is easy to see how this literal turnabout gave rise to the figurative sense of the expression as it is popularly used today.
draw in one’s horns See SUBMISSION.
eat one’s words To retract one’s assertions; to be compelled to take back what one has said; to be forced to back down or eat humble pie, to be humiliated and proven wrong. This expression dates from the 16th century, and will probably be popular for as long as putting one’s foot in one’s mouth is a common practice.
Unguarded words, which, as soon as you have uttered them, you would die to eat. (James Beresford, The Miseries of Human Life, 1806-07)
Indian giver One who recalls a gift, either simply from second thoughts or because of subsequent dissatisfaction with a gift received in return. Early American settlers attributed this practice to the natives. The term is now used primarily among children as a name-calling taunt when one decides to renege on a trade or bargain.
sing a different tune To do or say something different; to change one’s position; to assume a new attitude or express a revised opinion, especially one that is more appropriate and suited to the circumstances at hand; also sing another song. The change in attitude or behavior can be motivated by expediency or, at the other extreme, humbleness. In 1390, John Gower used the phrase in Confessio Amantis.
O thou, which has disseized the Court of France by thy wrong, now shalt thou sing an other song.
The phrase is current today, as is the analogous change one’s tune.
turncoat See BETRAYAL.
|Noun||1.||recantation - a disavowal or taking back of a previous assertion|