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

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

You cannot fashion something beautiful or valuable out of poor materials. What do you want me to do with this tacky fabric? You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!
See also: ear, make, of, purse, silk

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.
See also: ear, make, of, out, purse, silk

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

One cannot turn something inherently inferior into something of value. This proverbial metaphor dates from about 1500, and with some slight variation (“silk” is sometimes “velvet”) makes its way from proverb collections (by Howell, Ray, Dykes, et al.) into literature (Samuel Richardson, Laurence Sterne, Jonathan Swift, Charles Lamb, Robert Browning, George Bernard Shaw, and Clifford Odets, among others).
See also: ear, make, of, out, purse, silk
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