It's a rare person indeed, who goes through life without ever regretting words they have spoken in a heated moment.
The phrase "Eating your own words" certainly signifies that the speaker has launched a volley of verbiage that they will someday, come to regret. Swallowing those words along with the crow that usually accompanies it, won't go down easily.
Words can lead to romance, friendship, understanding. They also can lead to war, hate, misinformation and general chaos in society. Words build and words destroy.
To my mind, being an author, implies a kind of inherent responsibility to use words to create visions. Visions of other worlds, other views, other ways to live more fully. Words can change and/or, influence behavior for good or ill.
Writers use words as guides to all manner of human interaction with the world they have built inside each story. Whether that story is fiction or non-fiction, finding just the right word can strengthen it for the reader, or conversely, expose flaws in its foundation.
In today's news we are constantly hearing bombastic claims, accusatory rhetoric, snide asides...all using words as shovels, burying the reader or listener in dirt or self-aggrandizing accolades. Words have power that cannot be denied. Once they are launched, there's no unspeaking them! The words on the many media and social sites have the capability of starting protest movements; micro revolutions in society.
We, who are busy committing words to paper, are actually in a safer place than the local news outlet. Our words won't be tested for their credibility, but only by their impact on our readers. Writing Urban Fantasy allows me lots of freedom to choose my words in a fanciful fashion, even make up words to suit my purpose in the story.
Seeing how words can be used as destructive tools, not instructive tools, makes me wish the speakers would be made to eat each letter they spit out like so much bile, before the less-informed listener or reader has time to digest them!