change (one's) spots(redirected from change their spots)
change (one's) spots
To radically or fundamentally shift one's opinion, ideology, or allegiance, especially in relation to politics. Derived from the phrase "a leopard cannot change its spots," meaning that people are incapable of changing their essential nature. The former president seems to have changed her spots regarding social welfare since leaving office. You're never going to convince Tom about this—he's too stubborn. A guy like that can't change his spots.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
change one's stripes/spots, cannot
One cannot alter one’s essential nature. The cliché refers to the tiger, who obviously cannot change its stripes. This in turn is an alteration of a much older saying, an ancient Greek proverb also found in the Bible (“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” Jeremiah 13:23). The phrase appears in numerous places until the end of the seventeenth century.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer