pearl


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Related to pearl: Pearl Harbor

pearl-clutching

1. adjective Scandalized or mortified about some event, situation, thing, etc., that was once salacious but is now relatively common; morally conservative, stuffy, prudish, or unfashionable. Those pearl-clutching old prudes gave me dirty looks as I walked past in my cut-off jeans, but I don't give a hoot what they think about me.
2. noun The practice or habit of reacting in a scandalized or mortified manner to once-salacious but now relatively common things, events, situations, etc. I have to say that I am sick and tired of all the pearl-clutching going on amongst parents. Look, our kids are growing up in a different social environment than when we were in school, and it's high time we learned to deal with that!

clutch (one's)/the pearls

To react in a scandalized or mortified manner to once-salacious but now relatively common things, events, situations, etc. Parents should try not to clutch the pearls every time their teenagers come out of their room dressed outrageously—it only makes them want to push the envelope even further. My mother would always clutch her pearls whenever I began telling her about a new boyfriend, so eventually I stopped filling her in altogether.
See also: clutch, pearl

pearl-clutch

To react in a scandalized or mortified manner to once-salacious but now relatively common things, events, situations, etc. Parents should try not to pearl-clutch every time their teenagers come out of their room dressed outrageously—it only makes them want to push the envelope even further. My mother would always pearl-clutch whenever I began telling her about a new boyfriend, so eventually I stopped filling her in altogether.

mother of pearl

An iridescent substance that naturally appears in certain mollusk shells. It is often used as a decorative material for items like buttons and jewelry. The mother of pearl earrings you gave me for my birthday are so beautiful!
See also: mother, of, pearl

pearl necklace

vulgar slang A term for the spots of semen left on a woman's neck and chest after a man ejaculates between her breasts.
See also: pearl

pearl of wisdom

A piece of valuable advice. The phrase is sometimes used sarcastically. The old woman shared her pearls of wisdom with the struggling teen, in the hopes of making him feel better. Thanks for the pearl of wisdom, buddy, but your suggestion is ridiculous.
See also: of, pearl, wisdom

cast (one's) pearls before swine

To present something valuable to one who does not recognize its worth. The phrase originated in the Bible. Most of the time, playing classical music for high schoolers is like casting your pearls before swine. But every so often a few kids appreciate it. I can't believe he gave his brand-new convertible to that bumpkin—talk about casting your pearls before swine.
See also: before, cast, pearl, swine

pearls before swine

Something valuable presented to one who does not or will not recognize its worth. The phrase originated in the Bible. Most of the time, playing classical music for high schoolers is like casting your pearls before swine. But every so often a few kids appreciate it. I can't believe he gave his brand-new convertible to that bumpkin—talk about casting your pearls before swine.
See also: before, pearl, swine

cast (one's) pearls before swine

Fig. to waste something good on someone who doesn't care about it. (From a biblical quotation.) To sing for them is to cast pearls before swine. To serve them French cuisine is like casting one's pearls before swine.
See also: before, cast, pearl, swine

cast pearls before swine

Give something of value of someone who won't appreciate it, as in The old professor felt that lecturing on Dante to unruly undergraduates would be casting pearls before swine . This term comes from the New Testament (Matthew 7:6), appearing in Tyndale's translation (1526). It was repeated often by writers from Shakespeare to Dickens and remains current.
See also: before, cast, pearl, swine

a pearl of wisdom

If you describe something that someone has said or written as a pearl of wisdom, you mean that it sounds very wise or helpful. I tried to attract the attention of a passing waitress and waited for Josh's next pearl of wisdom. We here in Arkansas are always so grateful for all the pearls of wisdom that may fall from Mr. Greenberg's lips. Note: People usually use this expression humorously, to suggest that in fact they think the person is saying something very obvious, boring or silly.
See also: of, pearl, wisdom

cast pearls before swine

LITERARY
If you cast pearls before swine, you offer something valuable to someone who is not good enough or clever enough to appreciate it. He has written many fine pieces on the subject, although one suspects he is casting pearls before swine. Note: Verbs such as throw and toss are sometimes used instead of cast. He should know better than to throw pearls before swine. Note: You can also call something good that is not appreciated pearls before swine. The Musical Times, she tells me, is written for those with a genuine understanding of the finer points. I certainly hope so, or else my piece on Rossini will be pearls before swine. Note: This expression comes from the Bible, from the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus is giving His followers advice on how they should live: `Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.' (Matthew 7:6)
See also: before, cast, pearl, swine

cast (or throw) pearls before swine

give or offer valuable things to people who do not appreciate them.
This expression is a quotation from Matthew 7:6: ‘Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you’.
See also: before, cast, pearl, swine

cast ˌpearls before ˈswine

(saying) give or offer valuable things to people who do not understand their value: She decided not to buy the most expensive wine for dinner, thinking that would be casting pearls before swine.This expression comes from the Bible. Swine are pigs.
See also: before, cast, pearl, swine

pearls of ˈwisdom

(usually ironic) good advice; wise remarks: They all gathered round her, hoping for some of her pearls of wisdom.
See also: of, pearl, wisdom

cast pearls before swine, to

To offer something of value to those who cannot or will not appreciate it. The saying comes from Jesus’ teachings as recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew (7:6): “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet.” It was a well-known saying by Shakespeare’s time (“Pearl enough for a swine,” Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.2) and a cliché long before Dickens wrote, “Oh, I do a thankless thing, and cast pearls before swine!” (Dombey and Son, 1848).
See also: before, cast, pearl

pearl of great price, a

Anything of enormous value. The term comes from the New Testament (Matthew 13:45–46), in which the kingdom of heaven is so described. The doctrinal book of the Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is called the Pearl of Great Price.
See also: great, of, pearl

pearls of wisdom

Brilliant sayings or precepts. This phrase, which dates from the late 1800s, is often used sarcastically. The Daily Chronicle had it on December 12, 1907: “The gramophonist will redistribute the pearls of wisdom which have fallen from the lips of great Unionist statesmen to crowds of admiring villagers.”
See also: of, pearl, wisdom

pearls before swine

Wasting something that is not appreciated. In Matthew 7:6, Jesus warned his followers not to waste time by throwing pearls of wisdom before ungodly swine. When writers Claire Booth Luce and Dorothy Parker simultaneously arrived at a door, Luce stepped back to allow Parker to precede her by saying with a smile, “Age before beauty.” As she walked through the door, Parker replied, “And pearls before swine.”
See also: before, pearl, swine
References in classic literature ?
She remembered -- betwixt a smile and a shudder -- the talk of the neighbouring townspeople, who, seeking vainly elsewhere for the child's paternity, and observing some of her odd attributes, had given out that poor little Pearl was a demon offspring: such as, ever since old Catholic times, had occasionally been seen on earth, through the agency of their mother's sin, and to promote some foul and wicked purpose.
"--that if you had not sold the pearl, he would give you five thousand French dollars, which is ten thousand Chili."
And had you found no pearl, would you today owe Toriki the twelve hundred?
"He gave him a piece of paper that was good for the money in Papeete; and now Levy is dead and cannot pay; and Toriki is dead and the paper lost with him, and the pearl is lost with Levy.
And when she told of Levy, and dropped the pearl into Tefara's hand, even she was reconciled to the reality of her mother-in-law.
"In the morning," said Tefara, "you will sell the pearl to Raoul for five thousand French."
And tomorrow we will have more talk about the house before we sell the pearl. It will be better if we take the thousand French in cash.
She tore a strip from her ahu and tied the pearl securely about her neck.
In the last pocket of all she found it, the first and only pearl he had bought on the voyage.
It was Levy, the German Jew, the man who had bought the pearl and carried it away on the Hira.
And while Levy and Toriki drank absinthe and chaffered over the pearl, Huru-Huru listened and heard the stupendous price of twenty-five thousand francs agreed upon.
Unable to shake the vision of the pearl from his mind, he was returning to accept Mapuhi's price of a house.
It was the Hira, well named, for she was owned by Levy, the German Jew, the greatest pearl buyer of them all, and, as was well known, Hira was the Tahitian god of fishermen and thieves.
"Mapuhi has found a pearl. There was never a pearl like it in Hikueru, in all the Paumotus, in all the world.
He was his mother's supercargo, and his business was to comb all the Paumotus for the wealth of copra, shell, and pearls that they yielded up.