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All That Glitters Is Not Gold Short Essay Format

For other uses, see All That Glitters.

"All that glitters is not gold" is a well-known saying, meaning that not everything that looks precious or true turns out to be so. This can be applied to the people, places, or things that promise to be more than they really are.

While early expressions of the idea are known from at least the 12th century, the current saying is derived from a 16th century line by William Shakespeare.


The expression, in various forms, originated in or before the 12th century[1] and may date back to Æsop.[2] The Latin is Non omne quod nitet aurum est.[3] The French monk Alain de Lille wrote "Do not hold everything gold that shines like gold" in 1175.[4]

Chaucer gave two early versions in English: "But al thyng which that shyneth as the gold / Nis nat gold, as that I have herd it told" in "The Canon's Yeoman's Tale",[3] and "Hyt is not al golde that glareth" in "The House of Fame".[5]

The popular form of the expression is a derivative of a line in William Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice, which employs the word "glisters," a 17th-century synonym for "glitters." The line comes from a secondary plot of the play, the puzzle of Portia's boxes (Act II - Scene VII - Prince of Morocco):[6]

All that glisters is not gold—
Often have you heard that told.
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold.
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscrolled
Fare you well. Your suit is cold—
Cold, indeed, and labor lost.

Panning for gold often results in finding pyrite, nicknamed fool's gold, which reflects substantially more light than authentic gold does. Gold in its raw form appears dull and lusterless.[7]

Glitters or glisters[edit]

The original version of the saying used the word glisters, but glitters long ago became the predominant form. Poet John Dryden used glitter in his 1687 poem The Hind and the Panther. The words glister and glitter have the same meaning.[8]

In other languages[edit]

The expression is also found in Yiddish (nit als vos glanst iz gold),[9] especially amongst Hasidim, and also appears in a Hebrew work of Mendele Mocher Sforim.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

In pop culture, this phrase shows up in Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up".[10][11] It is also used as lyrics in the song "A Guided Masquerade" by Alesana, in the song "Domino Rain" by Antemasque, in the song "Gold" by Prince, and in the Kanye West song, "Family Business".

Another common formulation with the same meaning is "All that shines is not gold", as seen in the title and refrain of the song "All That Shines Is Not Gold"[12] and in the lyrics of "Next Time You See Me"[13] as well as Curtis Mayfield's "That's What Mama Say".[14]

Neil Young uses the saying in his song "Don't Be Denied" ("Well, all that glitters isn't gold, I know you've heard that story told.") from his 1973 album Time Fades Away to express his "realization that even success wouldn't make him happy", even after he obtained fame and money.[15] The inverse of this expression, "all that glitters is gold," is a lyric in the Led Zeppelin song, "Stairway to Heaven", the Smash Mouth song, "All Star", the Death in Vegas song, "All That Glitters", and in the Future Islands song "A Dream of You and Me" followed by the lyric "Don't believe what you've been told". "All that glitters is cold," is also a lyric in the song "Posthuman" by Marilyn Manson from the album "Mechanical Animals".[citation needed]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

All that Glitters is not Gold.

All that Glitters is not Gold. :

Anything that is bright and shining need not necessarily be made of gold. Certain things appear to be valuable but actually they are not. So we have to be careful and should not pay more for things before examining their actual worth.

Sometimes we are deceived by appearances. This is the idea conveyed by this proverb. It cautions us from being carried away by outward appearances that divert our attention and make less important things appear more valuable.

Once upon a time there were two friends - Anil and Sunil who were travelling by train from their village to the city. They both were planning to do a lot of shopping in the city malls and were discussing about this. The first thing they wanted to buy was a wrist watch for both of them.

A very well dressed young man with impeccable manners who was travelling with them overheard their conversation and politely asked if they would be interested in buying a couple of watches that he had. The stranger said that a friend of his had brought these watches from abroad and that they were made of pure gold. He opened his bag, brought out two beautiful watches that were stunning to look at and sparkled in their gold straps.

Anil liked the watches so much that he immediately agreed to buy one. Sunil however cautioned Anil not to take a hasty decision since they did not know for sure if the watch was made of gold. Sunil warned Anil many times not to purchase those watches and scolded his friend for coming to hasty decision which will take both of them to unwanted situations in the future.

Anil brushed aside all of Sunil’s objections and paid the stranger the huge sum he asked for and took the watch home. However a couple of days later the watch stopped ticking and when Anil took it to a watch repairer, he was told that the watch was not made of gold and that he had been cheated.

Anil was shattered that he had lost his hard earned money by getting carried away by glossy appearance of the watch. He felt ashamed of his foolish act of taking a hasty decision and not listening to his friend.

Thgereafter Anil became cautious of what he is doing and became a discriminatory person.

Similar Proverbs :

Look before you leap.
Appearances are deceptive.
Never judge a book by its cover.

All that Glitters is not Gold. :


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