Strike Sail

To acknowledge oneself beaten; to eat umble pie. A maritime expression. When a ship in fight or on meeting another ship, lets down her topsails at least half-mast high, she is said to strike, meaning that she submits or pays respect to the other.

Now Margaret
Must strike her sail, and learn a while to serve
When kings command.

Shakespeare; 3 Henry VI., iii. 8.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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