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Education Plus

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WHAT IS the meaning of "make a silk purse out of a sow's ear"?

(Lakshmi, Hyderabad)

A "sow", as you probably know, is a female pig. The word rhymes with "how", "now" and "cow". Is it possible to make a silk purse out of a pig's ear? What do you think? The expression "make a silk purse out of sow's ear" is normally used to mean that it is impossible to make something fine out of inferior or substandard material. The idiom is normally used in the negative. It is also possible to say, "turn a sow's ear into a silk purse".

* No matter how hard you try, I am afraid you will not succeed in helping him get through his Board exams. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

* I wouldn't spend too much time and money trying to repair that old car. You can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

* The Municipal authorities are planning to convert the old garbage dump into a park. I guess that it's a case of making a sow's ear into a silk purse.

S. Upendran

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