from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A pie formerly made from the edible organs of a deer or hog.
  • idiom (eat humble pie) To be forced to apologize abjectly or admit one's faults in humiliating circumstances.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun dated a pie made from the offal of deer or hog
  • noun idiomatic humility, being humble


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Alteration (influenced by humble) of obsolete umble pie : Middle English umbles, edible animal organs (variant of numbles, from Norman French nombles, from Old French, loin of veal, probably from alteration of Latin lumbulus, diminutive of lumbus, loin) + pie.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

The expression derives from umble pie, the original name of the offal meat pie, considered inferior food. In medieval times the pie was often served to lower-class people. Although "umbles" and the modern word "humble" are etymologically unrelated, each word has appeared both with and without the initial "h" after the Middle Ages until the 19th century.


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  • To eat humble pie (1830) is from umble pie (1648), pie made from umbles "edible inner parts of an animal" (especially deer), considered a low-class food. The similar sense of similar-sounding words (the "h" of humble was not pronounced then) converged in the pun. Umbles, meanwhile, is M.E. numbles "offal" (with loss of n- through assimilation into preceding article), from O.Fr. nombles "loin, fillet," from L. lumulus, dim. of lumbus "loin."

    August 1, 2007

  • Eew. That's offal. ;->

    August 1, 2007

  • Excellent reestee.

    August 2, 2007

  • 'Cross References:

    eat boiled crow'

    That's why we all love Wordnik. It can introduce you to things you never knew existed and leave you completely hanging.

    January 27, 2011

  • or broiled cow

    January 27, 2011