with a grain of salt

Idioms & Phrases

with a grain of salt

Also, with a pinch of salt. Skeptically, with reservations. For example, I always take Sandy's stories about illnesses with a grain of saltshe tends to exaggerate. This expression is a translation of the Latin cum grano salis, which Pliny used in describing Pompey's discovery of an antidote for poison (to be taken with a grain of salt). It was soon adopted by English writers.

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