sour grapes

sour grapes

noun
pretended disdain for something one does not or cannot have: She said that she and her husband didn't want to join the club anyway, but it was clearly sour grapes.

Origin:
1750–60; in allusion to Aesop's fable concerning the fox who, in an effort to save face, dismissed as sour those grapes he could not reach

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World English Dictionary
sour grapes
 
n
(functioning as singular) the attitude of affecting to despise something because one cannot or does not have it oneself
 
[from a fable by Aesop]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

sour grapes

Disparaging what one cannot obtain, as in The losers' scorn for the award is pure sour grapes. This expression alludes to the Greek writer Aesop's famous fable about a fox that cannot reach some grapes on a high vine and announces that they are sour. In English the fable was first recorded in William Caxton's 1484 translation, "The fox said these raisins be sour."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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