take with a grain of salt

take with a grain of salt
also, take with a pinch of salt

Meaning

  • to understand that something is not completely true or right
  • not take something too seriously
  • accept, but with some reservations or skepticism
  • don’t exactly believe something

Examples in Sentences

  1. I have read the article, but I take it with a grain of salt.
  2. I’ll take anything he says with a grain of salt. He has a habit of exaggerating things.
  3. Before elections, all parties make a lot of promises. They are best taken with a grain of salt.
  4. I’ve heard some reports of his achievements, but I take it with a grain of salt.
  5. This piece of news appears to be a blown up account of what actually happened. I’ll take it with a grain of salt.
  6. The reports painting a rosy scenario of the current economic condition are to be taken with a grain of salt.

Origin

This great expression, although an ancient one, was not used in its current meaning till much later. It is said that Pliny the Elder translated an ancient antidote for poison in 77 A.D., which recommends taking the antidote with a grain of salt. In its current meaning, however, it has been used since the 1600s. The pinch of salt variant came much later, around the mid 1900s.

T 4 Thoughts

4 Thoughts

“Take it with a grain of salt” implies that a grain of salt has more value than the claim being made. Other idioms clearly place value on salt, so I don’t know why the official explanations don’t mention this.

- Mark November 15, 2022

Horse hockey! I’m taking this origin with a pinch of salt or a pinch of grains of salt or whatever.
Pliny the elder huh?
Boy that really is somethin ain’t it folks?

- Rex Mundi October 1, 2022

@ Gianna,

Pinch of salt is how they say it in some other countries, if I’m not mistaken- they mean the same thing 🙂

- Maddy C. December 14, 2020

It has been around for a long time.
Is a pinch of salt different from a grain of salt or different?

- Gianna Bogan October 26, 2020

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Idiom of the Day

bury the hatchet

Meaning: to stop fighting or arguing or to end old resentments

Example: After many quarrelling years, the two political parties finally decided to bury the hatchet. Read on

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