can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear

Be unable to turn something ugly or inferior into something attractive or of value, as in No matter how expensive his clothes, he still looks sloppy—you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. This expression was already a proverb in the mid-1500s.


Nearby words

  1. can't do anything with,
  2. can't fight city hall,
  3. can't help,
  4. can't hit the broad side of a barn,
  5. can't hold a candle to,
  6. can't make head or tail of,
  7. can't punch one's way out of a paper bag,
  8. can't see beyond the end of one's nose.,
  9. can't see the forest for the trees,
  10. can't seem to

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.