Diamond in the rough


      • Hidden potential or talent
        Referring to someone or something that may not seem impressive or valuable at first glance, but when given the right opportunity or polishing, they can shine and reveal their true worth.

      • Unpolished or unrefined
        Describing something or someone that is raw or unrefined, not yet shaped or molded into a finished or polished state, similar to a diamond in its natural rough form before it is cut and polished.

    Examples of Diamond in the rough

    • She was a diamond in the rough when I first met her.

      This idiom means that she had great potential or qualities that were not immediately apparent when I first met her. It suggests that she was in need of polishing or refinement, like a rough diamond, but had the potential to become a valuable and precious gemstone.

    • The painting looked like a rough sketch, but I could see the diamonds in the rough.

      This idiom means that I could see the potential for beauty or value in a seemingly rough or unfinished product. It suggests that there was hidden potential or quality, like hidden diamonds, that was not immediately apparent.

    • He grew up in a tough neighborhood, but there were diamonds in the rough there, too.

      This idiom suggests that there were individuals with great potential or qualities in a seemingly rough or difficult environment, like diamonds hidden in rough surroundings. It is used to highlight the potential for positive qualities or outcomes in challenging circumstances.

    • The situation looked bleak at first, but I saw the diamonds in the rough.

      This idiom means that there was hidden potential or positive outcomes in a seemingly negative or challenging situation. It suggests that there were positive qualities or outcomes waiting to be revealed, like hidden diamonds, if one looks beyond the apparent negative aspects.

    • The raw material that was discovered in the wilderness had the potential to be a diamond in the rough.

      The term 'diamond in the rough' refers to something that has the potential to be valuable or prosperous, despite appearing unrefined or undiscovered at first glance. In this example, the discovery of raw material in the wilderness could lead to the discovery of valuable diamonds, which would have been hidden or undiscovered initially.

    • The young athlete's talent at basketball was hidden beneath a rough exterior.

      The phrase 'diamond in the rough' can also be applied to people who have undiscovered talents or potential. In this example, the raw exterior of the young athlete could mislead people into thinking that they are not talented, when in reality, they are hiding a valuable and undiscovered talent for basketball.

    • The plotline of the book was a diamond in the rough, with unexpected twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat.

      The use of 'diamond in the rough' can also be applied to creative works such as books, movies, or art. In this example, the seemingly unrefined or rough plotline of the book could lead to unexpected and valuable twists and turns, which could captivate and enthrall the reader.

    • The small business that started in a garage had the potential to be a diamond in the rough in the tech industry.

      The use of 'diamond in the rough' can also be applied to businesses or industries, particularly those that are relatively new or undiscovered. In this example, the small business that started in a garage could be a potentially valuable find in the tech industry, despite not being immediately obvious or well-known.


    The idiom "diamond in the rough" is typically used to refer to a person or thing that has hidden potential or talent. It conveys the idea that although something may not appear impressive or valuable at first, it has the potential to become something great with the right conditions or opportunities.

    The phrase can also be used to describe someone or something as unpolished or unrefined, similar to a diamond in its natural rough state. This can be applied to a person who may not have the best manners or appearance, but has inner qualities or talents that are waiting to be discovered and developed.

    Origin of "Diamond in the rough"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the diamond industry. Diamonds are formed deep inside the earth under intense pressure and heat, and are then brought to the surface through volcanic eruptions. In their natural state, diamonds are rough and unrefined, and it takes skilled craftsmen to cut and polish them into the sparkling gems we know today.

    This process of transforming a rough diamond into a polished one is similar to the idea behind the idiom. It suggests that just like a diamond, a person or thing may have hidden potential that needs to be uncovered and refined in order to shine.

    Another possible origin of this idiom could be from the story of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, where the genie refers to Aladdin as a "diamond in the rough" before granting him three wishes and revealing his true worth and potential. This ties in with the idea of hidden potential and the need for an opportunity or transformation to bring it to light.