Can you please explain the meaning and give some usage examples for "stuck in the craw" expression?

Just come across this expression in following sentence (a bit lengthy):

But what stuck in the craw of those early biographers was a body of material found in Newton's vast library and within his huge collection of papers and notebooks that made it very clear that the most respected scientist in history, the model for scientific method, had spent more of his life intensely involved with alchemy than he had delving into the clear blue waters of pure science.


2 Answers 2


Look at the link: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=craw

Regarding your input, I would say it means a thing which was really hard to accept by those early biographers.

Literlally it references to inability to swallow, swallowing obstruction.

See also http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/hard+to+swallow. There hard to swallow stands for the same as stuck in the craw and means a thing hard to believe.


Looking over the usage, stuck in the craw seems to be an earlier version of 'hard to swallow', as @brick suggested. Here are a few examples (all taken from google books):

from Lost Tribe: Jewish Fiction from the Edge (Paul Zakrzewski), page 301

For sixty-odd years, at a minimum of 365 times per year, at least once a day some real or imagined indignity bothered my mother sufficiently to get stuck in her craw.

from Ruined (Paula Morris), page 86

Something about what her aunt was saying stuck in her craw, like an irritating throat tickle.

from The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age (Simon Schama), page 237

While Dutch herrings slid down the gullet, Grotius stuck in the craw.

And most notably of all, from Speaking of Animals: A Dictionary of Animal Metaphors (Robert Allen Palmatier), page 368

from Speaking of Animals: A Dictionary of Animal Metaphors (Robert Allen Palmatier), page 368

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