separate the sheep from the goats

separate the sheep from the goats

  (British, American & Australian) also sort (out) the sheep from the goats (British & Australian)
to choose the people or things of high quality from a group of mixed quality I'll look through the application forms and separate the sheep from the goats.
See also: goat, separate, sheep

separate the sheep from the goats

Distinguish between good and bad individuals, or superior and inferior ones. For example, In a civil war where both sides commit atrocities, you can't separate the sheep from the goats . This term refers to Jesus's prophecy in the New Testament (Matthew 25:32) that the sheep (that is, the compassionate) will sit on God's right hand (and find salvation), and the goats (the hard-hearted) will sit on the left (and be sent to damnation).
See also: goat, separate, sheep
References in periodicals archive ?
That really does separate the sheep from the goats.
This task is sure to separate the sheep from the goats as Sir Alan asks each team member to notch up a personal record of their sales, so there is no way any slackers can hide.
I won't separate the sheep from the goats and I think the gentlemen in the FA will have a problem telling the difference so they could end up with anything.
So will someone please separate the sheep from the goats, facilitate the re-housing of those travellers who now want to belong to a community, let true gypsies pursue the peaceful ways they have observed for centuries and tell the rest to get lost.
Agriculture students would spend too much time learning to separate the sheep from the goats.
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