polish a turd

polish a turd

slang To make something unpleasant seem more appealing than it really is—which is often a futile effort. "Turd" is a slang term for a piece of feces. Look, man, your term paper was bad before, and all of your edits are just making it worse—polishing a turd won't make it better.
See also: polish, turd
References in periodicals archive ?
Carol Baker, Forth Valley, said: "As they say you can't polish a turd.
Our motto is: "You can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter" - but she'd also made me a little video, which left everyone in tears and ruined our lovely make-up.
It brings to mind that other truism: "You can't polish a turd.
And the mag claims you can't polish a turd, but this is one turd that's been polished to a shine.
You lived long enough in the North West to learn a piece of our philosophy that could have been made for you: you can't polish a turd.