lick one's wounds

lick one's wounds


  1. an injury, usually involving division of tissue or rupture of the integument or mucous membrane, due to external violence or some mechanical agency rather than disease.
  2. a similar injury to the tissue of a plant.
  3. an injury or hurt to feelings, sensibilities, reputation, etc.

verb (used with object)

  1. to inflict a wound upon; injure; hurt.

verb (used without object)

  1. to inflict a wound.


  1. lick one’s wounds, to attempt to heal one’s injuries or soothe one’s hurt feelings after a defeat.


  1. any break in the skin or an organ or part as the result of violence or a surgical incision
  2. an injury to plant tissue
  3. any injury or slight to the feelings or reputation


  1. to inflict a wound or wounds upon (someone or something)


  1. the past tense and past participle of wind 2

n.Old English wund “hurt, injury,” from Proto-Germanic *wundaz (cf. Old Saxon wunda, Old Norse und, Old Frisian wunde, Old High German wunta, German wunde “wound”), perhaps from PIE root *wen- “to beat, wound.” v.Old English wundian, from the source of wound (n.). Cognate with Old Frisian wundia, Middle Dutch and Dutch wonden, Old High German wunton, German verwunden, Gothic gawundon. Figurative use from c.1200. Related: Wounded; wounding. n.

  1. Injury to a part or tissue of the body, especially one caused by physical trauma and characterized by tearing, cutting, piercing, or breaking of the tissue.
  2. An incision.

Recuperate from injuries or hurt feelings. For example, They were badly beaten in the debate and went home sadly to lick their wounds. This expression alludes to an animal’s behavior when wounded. It was originally put as lick oneself clean or whole, dating from the mid-1500s. see lick one’s wounds; rub in (salt into a wound).

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