What does the idiom "take sth with a pinch of salt" mean?

The phrase take sth with a pinch of salt is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of take sth with a pinch of salt.

Meaning of "take sth with a pinch of salt"


The idiom 'take sth with a pinch of salt' can be used figuratively to suggest that something should not be taken too literally, and should be approached with skepticism or a healthy degree of caution. In other words, this saying implies that it is best to listen to others and have an open mind, but ultimately use your own judgement and wisdom to make decisions.


The origin of this idiom is uncertain, but likely dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans who used to add small amounts of salt to food for flavor. In a figurative sense, this could be interpreted as a way to temper what someone has said in order to make it more palatable. On the other hand, it could also signify something that should not be taken seriously, as salt was often added to food to reduce its bitterness.


This idiom is often used to convey a sense of caution regarding something that has been said or proposed. It can also serve as a way to express a lack of faith or trust in the person speaking. When used in this way, the phrase 'take it with a pinch of salt' can be seen as a reminder to be vigilant and remain sceptical of what is being said.

Example Sentences

  • "His comment about the company's future prospects sounded promising, but I'd take it with a pinch of salt."
  • "Her assurances that everything was going according to plan weren't very convincing, so I took it with a pinch of salt."
  • "The large salary that he promised was a bit too good to be true, so I decided to take it with a pinch of salt."
  • "I'd advise you to take his advice with a pinch of salt; he's not always the most reliable source of information."

The meanings of the words in the "take sth with a pinch of salt" idiom

Idioms with similar meanings in different languages

"Barking up the wrong tree" is an English idiom that means to pursue a mistaken or misguided course of action. In German, the similar idiom is "Auf dem Holzweg sein," which translates to "To be on the wrong track." This idiom emphasizes the idea that when you are pursuing the wrong course of action, you are not going to achieve your desired outcome.


No comment has been written about take sth with a pinch of salt yet, you can write the first comment and share your thoughts with our other visitors.
Leave a Reply