A metaphor: “to eat” as “to hold a grudge”?

I’ve noticed this expression a few times through the years in my travels through the expansive Chinuk pipa shorthand world: makmak, with a human as its direct object.

grudge eat

I couldn’t find a better illustration…

Nowhere have I found this term overtly defined.

There was a time when I was inferring that it meant “to be jealous of” someone.

But then I noticed that in the Kamloops area, the English loan shilis (spelt whichever old way) expresses “jealous”.  Here it is in a Catholic “examination of conscience” guide for those who are about to make confession:

Naika na shalyus kopa hlwima tilikom pus klaska mitlait ikta tlus?

“Have I been jealous of other people if they have something nice?” (Kamloops Wawa #92, page 134)

The same word is used by the Aboriginal people in their shorthand CJ letters.

What really tips me off that the 2 words I’m mentioning refer to 2 different things is, they’re used in separate questions in this examination of conscience. Here’s our contrasting example:

Naika na makmak hlwima tilikom?

“Have I held a grudge against [? — literally ‘eaten’] other people?” (#91, page 131)

[Edited 11/11/2015 to add another example sentence, from KW #115, page 56:

Kanawi klaksta
tiki shako taii, iaka kakwa
pus iaka makmak Sisar.

“Anyone who
wants to be a leader, it’s the same
as if he had a grudge against/were jealous of Caesar.”]

I’m trying to locate a copy of “Confession: A Little Book for the Reluctant”, a reputedly popular book that was likely the item by Monsignor de Ségur the Father J.M. Le Jacq, OMI translated into Chinook Jargon for us. Surprisingly it’s not showing up in the usual online archives that I’ve looked in.

Less surprisingly, it’s just as difficult, or harder, to check the local Salish languages for “eat” being used metaphorically for “grudge”. Typically you find scant information on the nonliteral uses of newly documented languages. I shall continue searching, though.


In the meantime, so that you’ll hold no grudge against me over this unresolved question, I can leave you with one my favorite words from learning Slovenian years ago. I always scratched my head a little when I saw the definition of privóščiti as ‘not to begrudge’! 🙂 Now that we have the internet, I easily find that it really has a more colloquial meaning, something like ‘to treat someone to something’ and ‘to be able to afford something’.