Sour Grapes

The Fox and the Grapes, like many Aesop’s Fables, is the source of the English idiom sour grapes. It describes an attitude that is common among all of us.

Meaning of Idiom ‘Sour Grapes’

Sour grapes means to disparage something that one wants but cannot have by pretending that it was never desirable at all; to pretend to despise something because you are unable to attain it.

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Examples Of Use

“The actor talked about how the Oscars were a pointless popularity contest that undermined the art of film. It was clearly a case of sour grapes from someone who didn’t win.”

“This may sound like sour grapes, but I’m glad I didn’t get that job. The guy who took it said that he’s under tremendous pressure.”

“Lifting heavy weights is stupid,” said Steve. “Yeah right. You have a sour grapes attitude because you can’t get any stronger,” said Troy.

“So many food critics are just frustrated chefs. It’s just sour grapes from someone who can’t cook.”


As above, the origin of the idiom sour grapes is the Aesop’s Fable, The Fox and the Grapes:

A hungry fox saw some fine bunches of grapes hanging from a vine that was trained along a high trellis and did his best to reach them by jumping as high as he could into the air. But, it was all in vain, for they were just out of reach. So he gave up trying, and walked away with an air of dignity and unconcern, remarking, “I thought those grapes were ripe, but I see now they are quite sour.”

Aesop, a Greek storyteller who lived during the 7th Century, B.C., was the author of several common English idioms, one of the most famous of which is cry wolf.

Admittedly, though, Aesop was sometimes borrowing inspiration from already existing expressions or proverbs.

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