American Idioms – Idiom Wizard Lists Over 5,500 Idioms & Slang Descriptions

Make a silk purse from a sow’s ear

DEFINITION

(Old fashioned) Impossibility. Impracticality. As the phrase proposes, it would be an impossibility to make something nice, like a silk purse from something gross like a pig’s ear skin, thusly the phrase is apt in its representation. (Compare to Nailing Jell-O to the wall.)

“I know you want me to teach your daughter to dance like a ballerina, but frankly, she has no talent and I can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.”

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