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camel through the eye of a needle

Contents

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

With reference to the New Testament, Mark 10.25, Mat. 19.24 and Luke 18.25. See the Citations page for those texts.

PhraseEdit

camel through the eye of a needle

  1. (idiomatic) Hyperbole to illustrate something that is almost impossible to do or to make happen.
    Getting George to wake up before 7 o'clock is harder than getting a camel through the eye of a needle.
    • 1795, John Swanwick (as "Snub"), "To WILLIAM WILCOCKS, Esquire, L. L. D. and DUke of New-York, &c.", in A Rub from Snub; or a cursory analytical epistle, page 57, quoting Wilcocks in the first footnote.
      Alluding to the exordium of his writings againſt the democrats, wherein he ſays “ It is a difficult for a party-man to be an honeſt man, as for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,” whereby he moſt emphatically declares his own diſhoneſty at the very firſt daſh of his pen.
    • 1825, "Sir H. L.", in The Political Correspondence of the Leading Members of Parliament with the the[sic] Speaker of the House of Commons on Emancipation, James Bigg (publ.), page 83.
      You are endeavouring to pass a bill that never can and that never will pass the House of Lords. Do you want to make a camel go through the eye of a needle?

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