"grain of salt"

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NearThere

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Can somebody show me the likely usage of this idom?

Does this phrase usually have a negative or positive (encouraging) tone?
 

BobK

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Take with a grain of salt

This traces it back nearly 2000 years; I wouldn't be surprised if it's even older.

It's not strongly negative, but it's not very complimentary to say 'Don't worry about him. You can take anything he says with a pinch of salt'.

b
 

vil

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Hi NearThere,

grain of salt


(With) a grain of salt is a literal translation of a Latin phrase, (cum) grano salis. A pinch of salt may also be used.


In common parlance, if something is to be taken with a grain of salt, it means that a measure of healthy skepticism should be applied regarding a claim; that it should not be blindly accepted and believed without any doubt or reservation. According to the Oxford English Dictionary "to take 'it' with a grain of salt" means "to accept a thing less than fully".

Regards.

V.
 

NearThere

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Thanks very much to BobK and Vil. I got it now.

So would it be fair to strongly suggest the US presidential candidates be taken with a grain of salt?:-|
 

BobK

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Well, people might differ about whether it's fair. I'd say it was quite wise though. ;-)

b
 

Uncle M

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It's usually what a person says or claims that should be taken with a grain of salt - not the person himself.

Surely any presidential candidate must tell the truth once in a while!

Dave
 

NearThere

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BobK: Well, people might differ about whether it's fair. I'd say it was quite wise though. ;-)


Dave: Surely any presidential candidate must tell the truth once in a while!

I'm feeling you guys!

And thanks to Dave for your clarifying an important point that the phrase be applied to a claim rather than a person.
 

riverkid

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It's usually what a person says or claims that should be taken with a grain of salt - not the person himself.

Surely any presidential candidate must tell the truth once in a while!

Dave

I wonder, Dave, do you think that it could be applied to a person, politician or not, who lies with such frequency that one would say the person themselves should be taken with a grain of salt?

Sort of, you've got to apply this to this person whenever he/she opens their mouth.
 
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