Green’s Dictionary of Slang

acknowledge the corn v.

also acknowledge the malt, own the corn
[? in a horse-stealing case in a western state, the defendant, accused of stealing four horses and four feeds of corn, declared I acknowledge the corn but denied the actual horse-stealing. ‘Legend says he was lynched in spite of the admission’ (Ware); cit. 1840 suggests additional pun on corn n.1 (2) and 1865 on SE malt/malt v.]

(orig. US) to admit an error.

[US]Daily Pennant (St Louis) 14 July n.p.: David Johnson acknowledged the corn and said that he was drunk.
[US] in Congressional Globe 27 Feb. 320: I have gotten one anti-slavery gentleman here to acknowledge the corn.
[US]J.R. Lowell Biglow Papers 2nd series (1880) 82: ’T wuz the day our new nation got kin’ o’ stillborn, / So ’t wuz my pleasant dooty t’ acknowledge the corn.
G. Derby Squibob Papers 171: Amos acknowledged the malt with a cheerful guffaw.
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 99: The Chief had hardly been in conclave with him fifteen minutes before he ‘acknowledged the corn,’ owned up fairly.
[US]Northern Trib. (Cheboygan, MI) 5 Nov. 3/1: Did he acknowledge the corn?
[UK]G.A. Sala in Living London (1883) Mar. 97: Mr. Porter ‘acknowledges the corn’ as regards his fourteen days’ imprisonment, and is forgiven by his loving consort.
[US]San Antonio Light (TX) 17 Apr. 4/4: Since you feel so bad about it I acknowledge the corn or malt.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 26 Nov. 2/3: Americanisms [...] To ‘acknowledge the corn’ is to admit an imputation.
[US]H.E. Hamblen Yarns of Bucko Mate 39: I acknowledged the corn, and he proceeded to impress upon me the enormity of my crime.
[US]S. Clapin New Dict. Americanisms.
[US]Van Loan ‘The Phantom League’ in Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 194: Then Pop Frisbee swallowed hard and acknowledged the corn.
Building Systems Design 17 38: It is obvious, however, that the more courageous way to do, and the way calculated to be of the most benefit to the reader, is to ‘acknowledge the corn’ and give equal publicity to the correction.
Commercial Law Jrnl 32 45: If my tactics have been at fault, then I am willing to acknowledge the corn.
[US]AS XI 316: Own the corn.
[US]Randolph & Wilson Down in the Holler 222: acknowledge the corn: phr. To admit, to confess, to apologize. [Ibid.] 269: own the corn: phr. To admit an error.