I’m trying to find the right idiom, the correct way of forming the sentence for the following case. Let me give an example.

The boy breaks up with his girlfriend and then after some time he apologises and wants to carry on from where they were left. The girl “does not swallow her pride” and refuses him.

The girl does not swallow her pride is a usage of the negative form. How can I form a sentence with the word “pride” without using “does not”, without making it a negative sentence?

How about saying “she took pride and refused” or maybe “she made it as a matter of pride and refused”. That’s similar to what I’m looking for but wanted to find out what native speakers say. Thanks

  • She rejected his apology because her pride had been wounded/offended by the break-up Feb 8, 2021 at 23:55
  • I think your example does not focus on the pride but on her rejection
    – Melih
    Feb 9, 2021 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


Maybe the phrase you are looking for is take umbrage. The Cambridge Dictionary defines umbrage as:

to feel upset or annoyed, usually because you feel that someone has been rude or shown no respect to you

You could use it in your sentence like this:

she took umbrage and refused

Take umbrage may suggest that somebody over-reacts to a perceived insult, whereas if he ditched his girlfriend, she has every reason to be upset.

Note that pride is not always regarded as a good thing, in fact it is regarded as one of the seven deadly sins. Better terms to use in this case might be self-respect or dignity, which is defined as:

calm, serious, and controlled behaviour that makes people respect you

If you google keep dignity, many of the posts relate to relationship break-ups. Here is how you could use it:

She retained her dignity and refused.

If it already understood that her pride was wounded by the break-up, you could say

she stuck to her guns [and refused]

  • Nice one. Does it relate to "pride" because I want to focus on her pride not having let her carry on rather than her being upset about it?
    – Melih
    Feb 9, 2021 at 13:48
  • No, it's more about being upset. I have updated my answer to add a new option.
    – JavaLatte
    Feb 10, 2021 at 1:10

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