Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
sow a/the seed of doubt (in someone's mind)
To cause someone to have doubts, worries, or concerns (about something); to introduce someone to a doubtful or worrisome idea. The candidate was doing very well in the polls six months ago, but it seems that this smear campaign has been effective in sowing a seed of doubt in the minds of voters. Recent economic turbulence in the Eurozone has sown the seed of doubt about the strength of the economy's recovery. Jim's suspicious behavior sowed a seed of doubt in Jenny's mind about his fidelity.
make a silk purse of a sow's ear
To fashion something beautiful or valuable out of poor materials. Often used in the negative, such as "cannot make a silk purse of a sow's ear." What do you want me to do with this tacky dress? I can't make a silk purse of a sow's ear!
As you sow, so shall you reap,and As a man sows, so shall he reap.
Prov. Things will happen to you good or bad, according to how you behave. (Biblical.) You should stop being so cruel to other people. As you sow, so shall you reap. Fred built an immense fortune by swindling others, but lost it all when someone swindled him. As a man sows, so shall he reap.
look like a saddle on a sow
Rur. to look ridiculous and out of place. Tom: How do you like my new diamond earring? Jane: It looks like a saddle on a sow. The fancy wheels on that beat-up old car look like a saddle on a sow.
sow one's wild oats
to do wild and foolish things in one's youth. (often assumed to have some sort of sexual meaning.) Jack was out sowing his wild oats last night, and he's in jail this morning. Mrs. smith told Mr. smith that he was too old to be sowing his wild oats.
sow the wind and reap the whirlwind
Prov. to start some kind of trouble that grows much larger than you planned. (Biblical.) our enemy has sown the wind by provoking this war, and they will reap the whirlwind when we vanquish them.
You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Prov. You cannot make someone more refined than he or she is by nature. I've given up trying to get my cousin to appreciate classical music. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
reap what you sow
to experience the results of your own actions If we neglect our environment, we will surely reap what we sow.
Usage notes: usually used to say that something bad is likely to result from an activity
Etymology: from the idea that the quality of the seeds that you sow (put into the ground) grow into the kind of plants that you are able to reap (cut and collect)
sow the seeds (of something)also plant the seeds
to do something that will cause a particular result in the future Religious conflict sowed the seeds of the government's downfall. Officials say they are planting the seeds for freedom and democracy.
You reap what you sow.also As you sow, so shall you reap. (formal)
something that you say which means everything that happens to you is a result of your own actions If you treat your friends like that, of course they drop you. You reap what you sow in this life.
You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.(old-fashioned)
something that you say which means you cannot make a good quality product using bad quality materials To make chairs that'll last, you need good strong pieces of wood. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
sow the seeds of something
to do something that will cause an unpleasant situation in the future He may be sowing the seeds of his own destruction by using violence against his people.
sow your wild oats
if a young man sows his wild oats, he has a period of his life when he does a lot of exciting things and has a lot of sexual relationships He'd spent his twenties sowing his wild oats but felt that it was time to settle down.See You reap what you sow
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.
sow one's wild oats
Behave foolishly, immoderately or promiscuously when young, as in Brad has spent the last couple of years sowing his wild oats, but now he seems ready to settle down . This expression alludes to sowing inferior wild oats instead of good cultivated grain, the verb sowing-that is, "planting seed"-in particular suggesting sexual promiscuity. [Mid-1500s]
sow (one's)oats/wild oats
To indulge in sexually promiscuous or dissolute behavior, especially as a young adult.
the sow that eats its farrow
Ireland. The phrase comes from James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: “Do you know what Ireland is? asked Stephen with cold violence. Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.” A “farrow” is a litter of newborn piglets, and the reference is Joyce's belief that Ireland had a history of destroying its writers, admirable political figures, and indeed everything that should be saved and nurtured.