cast pearls before swine

C

cast pearls before swine

Meaning

  • to offer something valuable or precious to someone who is unable to appreciate its worth.
  • give or demonstrate something valuable to someone who does not recognize its value.
  • to present something of great value to those who are incapable of understanding or appreciating it.
  • to provide something meaningful to those who will not benefit from it.
  • to waste good things on people who do not care about them.
  • to bestow a gift or offer kindness to those who are incapable of appreciating it.

Example Sentences

  1. Sharing his profound poetry with people who had no interest in literature felt like casting pearls before swine.
  2. Trying to explain the intricacies of the art piece to him was like casting pearls before swine.
  3. She felt like she was casting pearls before swine when her detailed report was ignored by her disinterested colleagues.
  4. Giving the delicate antique vase to the careless children was akin to casting pearls before swine.
  5. When his groundbreaking ideas met with indifference, he realized he was casting pearls before swine.
  6. Her attempts to teach advanced mathematics to uninterested students felt like casting pearls before swine.

Origin and History

The idiom “cast pearls before swine” has its origins in the Bible, specifically in the New Testament. It appears in Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 7, Verse 6, which is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The verse reads as follows in the King James Version:

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs,┬áneither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

In this context, Jesus advises his followers not to offer sacred things to those who will not appreciate them. The “pearls” symbolize great value or holiness, while the “swine” represent those who are unable to recognize or value such gifts.

This biblical admonition evolved into the idiom we use today over time. The idiom was recorded in English as early as the 16th century. The idiom “cast pearls before swine” is a succinct expression of a moral lesson. It warns against the futility, and even danger, of offering something precious to those who will likely have no appreciation for it.

The imagery of pearls and swine creates a powerful contrast. Pearls, gleaming and precious, represent things of great value. Swine, on the other hand, symbolizes those who lack appreciation for such treasures. This stark contrast underscores the idea of value being wasted on those who cannot understand or appreciate it.

This idiom, reflecting a timeless piece of wisdom, has remained in common usage in English-speaking cultures.

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