BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Eat humble pie: when we say someone has to ‘eat humble pie’, we mean they have to admit they can’t do something they boasted about. It’s a bit humiliating for them.
Rob is training for a pie-eating competition. He has asked Feifei to bet on his victory. Will he be able to eat ten pies in a few minutes? Listen to the programme to find out.
Hi, Feifei. I’m glad you’ve come to watch me train for the pie-eating competition. I’m going to be the new champion! I’m so sure of it – no one’s going to beat me, I’m the best!
How can you be so sure you are going to win?
Because I love eating.
But you’re so thin. I can’t imagine ten of these huge pies fitting inside your skinny body.
Don’t worry, they will – I’ll eat them all and very quickly.
So let me start the clock. Are you ready?
Here we go!
Okay. Right, let me try some of these… (eating pies). Lovely! Lovely!
Well, two down … eight to go.
Okay, a bit more …(eating more pies)
That’s four now … five and …
No! No! I can’t eat anymore!
Are you sure?
Yes, I’m full up!
If you can’t finish these, you’re going to have to eat humble pie.
Humble pie? I won’t have room for any type of pie. I’m stuffed! But I see what you mean. I have to admit that I was wrong when I said I could eat all those pies.
Yes, in English, when we say someone has to ‘eat humble pie’, we mean they have to admit they can’t do something they boasted about. It’s a bit humiliating for them.
Yes. That person then has to act in an apologetic way. ‘To eat humble pie’ is today’s expression in The English We Speak. Let’s hear some examples of how it’s used.
The factory owner had to eat humble pie after a lot of customers complained about his product.
Peter is so arrogant. He said he could finish the work much quicker than anybody else in the office. I hope he has to eat humble pie.
So, I can’t eat ten pies in a few minutes after all. We still have all these pies, which are very tasty actually. You can have some, Feifei.
Thank you. Mmm, not bad. This is an interesting expression, Rob. I wonder where it came from.
Well, some people say it might have come from ‘umbles’, which is an old word for animal organs like kidneys, intestines, etc. In the past, rich people might have considered eating an ‘umbles pie’ as a punishment. But who knows?
Well, Rob, I don’t think eating all those pies is a punishment. We just have to eat one at a time and enjoy each one.
Good idea! Okay. Shall we start now?
Here it goes. Okay. Bye bye!
The English We Speak – Eat humble pie Transcript Video
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