take with a grain of salt

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


  • 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


  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.

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.

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