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sour grapes

plural noun
pretended disdain for something one does not or cannot have:
She said that she and her husband didn't want to join the club anyway, but it was clearly sour grapes.
Origin of sour grapes
First recorded in 1750-60; in allusion to Aesop's fable concerning the fox who, in an effort to save face, dismissed as sour those grapes he could not reach Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sour grapes
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yet the authoress of "sour grapes" was undeniably a successful woman.

    Audrey Craven May Sinclair
  • I ain't much to spend, and mebbe that sounds some like sour grapes.

    Friendship Village Zona Gale
  • It would sound, wouldnt it, rather like sour grapes to say it?

    The Shadow of Life Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • Which wise dictum might or might not be based on the fox's opinion as to sour grapes.

    The Firebrand

    S. R. Crockett
  • If a woman were to take that position she would be accused of 'sour grapes,' wouldn't she?

    The Bachelors William Dana Orcutt
  • Moreover I had eaten by stealth a vast quantity of sour grapes.

    Jerome Cardan William George Waters
  • The father's sour grapes had not set these children's teeth on edge.

    Girlhood and Womanhood Sarah Tytler
British Dictionary definitions for sour grapes

sour grapes

(functioning as sing) the attitude of affecting to despise something because one cannot or does not have it oneself
Word Origin
from a fable by Aesop
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with sour grapes

sour grapes

Disparaging what one cannot obtain, as in The losers' scorn for the award is pure sour grapes. This expression alludes to the Greek writer Aesop's famous fable about a fox that cannot reach some grapes on a high vine and announces that they are sour. In English the fable was first recorded in William Caxton's 1484 translation, “The fox said these raisins be sour.”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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