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Idiom

Take it with a Grain of Salt: Origin and Meaning

Meaning
Don’t believe exactly what someone says to be correct; accept what they say, but don’t take it really seriously.
Origin
Take it with a grain of saltA grain of salt is a very small piece of salt, so this idiom starts with the idea that most food tastes better with a little bit of salt. Food is tastier and therefore easier to swallow with a grain of salt, so this idiom claims that if someone is telling you something that is probably not entirely true or correct, it is easier to swallow it with a grain of salt than to argue against it. In 77AD Pliny the Elder (a natural philosopher under The Roman Empire) translated an ancient cure to poison, in which he wrote “to be taken fasting, plus a grain of salt”. This suggested that bad effects could be counteracted by a grain of salt. The more metaphorical meaning – that incorrect information might be made easier to accept by taking it with a grain of salt – did not become widely used until much later, in the 17th Century. For example, in 1647 John Trapp said of his own writing “This is to be taken with a grain of salt”. More recently, the idiom has been modified from a grain of salt to a pinch of salt, and we can now use either grain or pinch in this saying.
Examples
Keith: “I can’t believe it; Max said that he can speak 10 languages fluently.”
Gordon: “Oh, he probably only means he knows a few words in each language. You have to take what he says with a grain of salt.”

The tabloids and gossip magazines often invent stories about celebrities, so you should take what you read with a pinch of salt.

Billy: “Jade told me that her pet dog can talk and dance like just like a human. Can we get a dog like that?”
Mother: Take what your friend says with a grain of salt – she has quite a vivid imagination and sometimes exaggerates!”