all that glitters is not gold


      • things are not always as they appear
        To remind someone that outward appearances can be deceiving and that they should not judge something solely based on its outward appearance or initial impression

      • not everything that is desirable is actually valuable or worthwhile
        To caution against being easily swayed by superficial or flashy things, and to encourage looking beyond what is attractive on the surface to determine true worth or value

      • not everything that appears to be successful or promising is actually so
        To remind someone to be cautious and not blindly follow or pursue something that seems to be successful or desirable, as it may not be as good as it seems

    Examples of all that glitters is not gold

    • Sarah saw a shiny ring in a pawn shop window and exclaimed, "Wow, that must be worth a fortune!" But as she looked closer, she noticed that the stone was chipped and the band was tarnished. Disappointed, she muttered, "All that glitters is not gold."

      The idiom "all that glitters is not gold" means that things that appear valuable or attractive at first glance may not actually be worthwhile or desirable. In this example, Sarah's initial impression of the ring being valuable was not accurate, as the ring's true condition revealed that it was not worth as much as she thought.


    The idiom "all that glitters is not gold" is used to warn against making hasty judgments or decisions based on appearances. It serves as a reminder to look beyond the surface and not be easily swayed by outward appearances, as things may not be as they seem. This can apply to various situations, such as relationships, opportunities, or material possessions.

    In a broader sense, the phrase can also be interpreted as a reminder that not everything that is desirable or attractive is actually valuable or worthwhile. It cautions against being easily swayed by superficial or flashy things, and encourages deeper consideration and evaluation to determine true worth or value.

    Origin of "all that glitters is not gold"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the late 12th century, when it was first used by the medieval monk and writer Geoffrey Chaucer in his work "The Canterbury Tales." In the story, a character refers to a false cleric as "a book that gleams like gold, but is actually made of lead." This was likely the earliest version of the phrase, which has evolved over time to become the commonly used idiom we know today.

    The phrase gained popularity in the 16th century, with William Shakespeare using it in his play "The Merchant of Venice." It has since been used in various literary works, songs, and films, solidifying its place in the English language as a well-known idiom.

    The origin of the idiom can also be traced to the idea of fool's gold, or pyrite, which is a mineral that resembles gold but holds no real value. This serves as a metaphor for things that may appear desirable or valuable, but are actually not as good as they seem.