Last modified on 4 June 2014, at 20:00

make a silk purse of a sow's ear

EnglishEdit

EB1911 - Volume 01 - Page 001 - 1.svg This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page as described here.

EtymologyEdit

Coined by Stephen Gosson in 1579 in the book Ephemerides of Phialo: Deuided Into Three Bookes p62v

VerbEdit

make a silk purse of a sow's ear

  1. (idiomatic) To produce something refined, admirable, or valuable from something which is unrefined, unpleasant, or of little or no value.
    • 1884, Charlotte M. Yonge, The Armourer's Prentices, ch. 22:
      "He always was an unmannerly cub," said Master Headley, as he read the letter. "Well, I've done my best to make a silk purse of a sow's ear!"
    • 1997, Joanna Biddolph, "Mandelson has become PR’s new role model," PRWeek (UK), 23 May (retrieved 16 Dec. 2009):
      PR people can make a silk purse of a sow's ear.
    • 2001, Penny Jackson, "House & Home: On your marks. Get set. Sell!" Independent (UK), 6 Jan. (retrieved 16 Dec. 2009):
      A smart development can make a silk purse of a sow's ear, and the effect on older properties can be quite dramatic.

Usage notesEdit