all that glitters is not gold


all that glitters is not gold


  • the shining outer look of something is not a consistent sign of its real character
  • not everyone that appears good, turns out to be good
  • not everything that is apparently glittery is precious
  • something that looks to be perfect but not in real

Example Sentences

  1. My grandmother advised me to be careful about making new friends because all that glitters is not gold.
  2. After being cheated by many handsome guys, she finally realised that all that glitters is not gold.
  3. I know that Christie is a beautiful girl but don’t forget all that glitters is not gold.
  4. Mark recently bought an attractive wrist-watch, and it stopped after few weeks. All that glitters is not gold.
  5. I never prefer to wear a bling rather I like being relaxed – all that glitters is not gold!


The original form of this expression was “all that glisters is not gold.” The ‘glitters’ version eventually overshadowed the original and is now used universally.

Shakespeare was the first writer to show that shiny things aren’t necessarily precious in his play, The Merchant of Venice, 1596

“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;” …

This expression was used in several ways well before the days of Shakespeare, so much so that it was called proverbial by the 16th century. For instance, the 12th century French theologian Alain de Lille wrote:

“Do not hold everything gold that shines like gold.”

Geoffrey Chaucer also expressed the same idea in the poem The House of Fame, 1380:

“For, by Crist, lo! thus hit fareth;
‘Hit is not al gold, that glareth.’ “

And John Dryden was quite happy to use ‘glitters’ as long ago as 1687, in his poem The Hind and the Panther.

“For you may palm upon us new for old:
All, as they say, that glitters, is not gold.”

Nevertheless, it is Shakespeare that gave us the version we use now.

Share your opinions6 Opinions

Can we say not all that glitters is gold?

‒ T4MZ September 24, 2022

It is all a bit vague. If the original version was , “All that GLISTERS is not gold” then do we have a quotation well prior to the use of “glitters” (WS in MofV) to prove the use of “glisters”? Clearly as you say Chaucer used a similar idea, but can we actually trace the word “glisters” in any early literature ?

‒ Geoff. Dixon August 16, 2022

It is “glisters” not glitters – glitter did not exist as a word in Shakespeare’s time.

‒ Paul Harris March 26, 2021

I’ve come across the expression “all isn’t gold that glitters” while reading a pocket book.

‒ Nazareno December 13, 2020

In this thought it says anything that has glitters or shine is not always expensive or gold

‒ Rasheeda July 8, 2020

“All that glitters is not gold” is an aphorism stating that not everything that looks precious or true turns out to be so. This can be applied to just about any experience in life.

‒ Raluchi May 24, 2020

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