Humble Pie(ty)

Humble Pie(ty)

Sunday, November 5, 2017
| Matthew 23:1-12

These are not the exact words of Jesus, but they come close: "Those who exalt themselves will eat humble pie, while those who eat humble pie will be exalted."

Have you ever had to "eat humble pie"?

Most of us have heard this expression. It's an idiom meaning "to face humiliation for an error or wrongdoing, something for which we must apologize, often in some public way."

Far fewer of us, however, know the origin of this odd phrase. According to etymologists, the phrase derives from umble pie, which was a pie filled with nasty stuff like liver, heart and other offal, especially of cow but often of deer or boar. Umble evolved from numble, (after the French nomble) meaning "deer's innards."

Umbles were considered inferior food. No kidding. In medieval times, the pie was often the only meat dish available to people of the lower economic class. For someone of noble rank or superior station in the Middle Ages to be publicly humiliated would be akin to them having to sit down with a commoner and have a bowl of umble pie.

The umbles and the word "humble" appeared with and without the initial "h" until the 19th century. Thus, while umble is now gone...


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