What Does Cast Pearls Before Swine Mean?

Cast Pearls Before Swine Meaning

Definition: To give or show something valuable to people who won’t or can’t appreciate it.

Usually, people use this expression in its negative form, don’t cast your pearls before swine.

Origin of Cast Pearls Before Swine

This expression comes from the Bible, Matthew 7:6. In this part of the Bible, Jesus gives the below quote.

  • Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

This means to not share his teachings with those who will misuse them.

It first appeared in English Bibles in the year 1526, as seen below.

  • Nether caste ye youre pearles before swyne.

Examples of Cast Pearls Before Swine

do not cast your pearls before swineIn the below dialogue, two men use the idiom while discussing a bake sale in which they are taking part.

Robert: Why isn’t anyone buying our crème brûlée?

Marty: I don’t know. Our dessert is clearly the most delicious one here.

Robert: Not too mention the fanciest!

Marty: The most popular selling item is that batch of brownies. Those brownies came out of a box mix! They aren’t even homemade!

Robert: I suppose this is a case of casting pearls before swine. These people aren’t sophisticated enough to appreciate our delicately flavored treats.

casting pearls before swineThe second dialogue shows two students using the expression in an argument.

Josh: Did you borrow my book without asking?

Jeff: Oh, was that your book? I didn’t read it. I just was carrying it around to look smart. I was trying to meet some girls on the university campus.

Josh: Can I have it back, then?

Jeff: Oh, sorry. I left it on the bench. I didn’t realize it was that important to you.

Josh: I told you not to borrow my books. It’s like casting pearls before swine. You don’t even read them! You just destroy them.

More Examples

This excerpt gives a tip for civil discourse.

  • Don’t cast pearls before swine. Not everybody is worth your time, attention and words. Some people are hopelessly uncivil; don’t bother with them. –Green Valley News

This excerpt talks about the beauty of nature and how everyone can appreciate it.

  • Nature does not cast pearls before swine. There is just as much beauty visible to us in the landscape as we are prepared to appreciate,–not a grain more.  The Atlantic

Summary

Cast pearls before swine describes showing something of very high quality to someone who is uncultured and doesn’t realize its value.