All That Glitters is Not Gold Examples
The proverb "all that glitters is not gold" means that shiny or attractive things are not necessarily valuable.
The proverb's original origins cannot be ascribed to a specific person. However, the idea that "all that glitters is not gold" has been expressed by writers over the centuries:
- Alain de Lille, 12th Century French theologian: "Do not hold everything gold that shines like gold."
- Geoffrey Chaucer, English writer/poet, 1380: "Hit is not al gold that glareth."
- William Shakespeare, English writer/poet, 1596 in The Merchant of Venice:
- O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.
All that glitters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll'd:
Fare you well; your suit is cold.
- John Dryden, English writer/poet, 1687: "For you may palm upon us new for old: All, as they say, that glitters, is not gold."
The saying that we use today-"all that glitters is not gold"-is typically attributed to Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. In the original play, Shakespeare used the word "glisters" instead of "glitters," but that does not alter the meaning.
In today's speech, the phrase "all that glitters is not gold" is used in reference to anything that appears to have value, but may not actually be valuable. Here are some examples:
- While a gentleman may be appealing in appearance if he has expensive clothes and nice cars, "all that glitters is not gold," and he may not be a kind person on the inside.
- In reference to a new job that appears to be glamorous but actually requires many long hours, you say "all that glitters is not gold."
- In reference to a movie star who is beautiful and famous, but who has been admitted to the hospital for depression, someone remarks, "all that glitters is not gold."
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