To my surprise...
. . . scholars such as Michael Gilleland, Richard Nokes, and Michael Drout have linked to my post on Tolkien.
I'd rather enjoy all the attention . . . if I weren't receiving it for a post in which I was, basically, sounding the profound depths of my ignorance. Oh well, at least, I ate my humble pie at the offset, so I won't have to eat my words later.
Speaking of edible words, the "humble" in "humble pie" comes from "umbles," which the Free Dictionary defines as:
"The entrails and coarser parts of a deer; hence, sometimes, entrails, in general."Entrails, eh? Is that stuff edible? The Online Etymology Dictionary tells us more:
humble: c.1250, from O.Fr. humble, earlier humele, from L. humilis "lowly, humble," lit. "on the ground," from humus "earth." Senses of "not self-asserting" and "of low birth or rank" were both in M.E. The verb is c.1380 in the intrans. sense of "to render oneself humble;" 1484 in the trans. sense of "to lower (someone) in dignity."From humus, eh? That could make for some nice intertextual, cross-lingual puns:
"Adam, ah Adam, man of earth,But what's this to do with umbles? Just keep reading under "humble" to find out:
T'were best remain a human humble."
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."I see. Given my 'druthers, I'd rather have my humble pie in French. But even in English, better to have humble pie now than eat exultant crow later.