What does the idiom "sour grapes" mean?

sour grapes is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression sour grapes is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "sour grapes"


The 'sour grapes' idiom is used to describe the attitude of someone who claims to no longer want something that they had previously failed to obtain. It is often used to refer to disinterest or criticism of something or someone that the speaker has no real knowledge about, out of envy for their success or entitlement to it. This phrase is often used to describe people's reactions to things that they cannot have, such as money, fame, or physical beauty.


The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the classic children's fable, The Fox and the Grapes, written by Aesop in the 6th century BC. In the story, a hungry fox tries to reach a bunch of grapes but is unable to do so. The fox then resignedly states that the grapes must be sour, attempting to convince himself (and the reader) that he wasn't missing out. This phrase has since been used to describe someone who is rejecting something in an effort to make themselves feel better about not being able to have it.


This phrase is often used to describe someone's attitude or behavior that can be attributed to envy or entitlement. It is typically used to describe people who have been denied or excluded from something or someone, such as a job, a promotion, a date, or access to a particular group or activity. It can also be used to refer to the attitude of someone who denigrates or belittles something or someone that they cannot possess, often out of spite.

Example Sentences

  • He was so bitter after being denied the promotion that he spoke of the new hire as if they were full of sour grapes.
  • Rather than accept her rejection, he resorted to sour grapes, claiming that he didn't want her anyway.
  • After losing the election, he tried to spread rumors that the winner was filled with sour grapes.
  • His friends knew that his refusal to join the team was just sour grapes from not making the cut.

The meanings of the words in the "sour grapes" idiom

The power of idioms transcends languages!

"Putting the cart before the horse" is an English idiom that means doing things in the wrong order. In Russian, the similar idiom is "Кладёт колесо впереди лошади," which translates to "Putting the cart before the horse." This idiom emphasizes the idea that doing things in the wrong order can lead to confusion and problems down the line.


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