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to take with a pinch of salt


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Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to feel hurt or upset

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b) to laugh at something

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c) to not believe something

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To take something with a pinch of salt or with a grain of salt, means that you do not totally believe it, or do not take it seriously.

French translation

ne pas prendre à la lettre, en prendre et en laisser, ne pas prendre au sérieux, ne pas être complètement convaincu

How NOT to translate : *prendre avec une pincée de sel

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Examples in context

‘London NHS services ’unravelling’, new report says

The People’s Inquiry, commissioned by the Unite union, found the public have "no real voice" in health care because of a lack of an overarching strategy. It called for a London strategy-making body, a review of ambulance services and midwife-led maternity units. Health minister Dr Daniel Poulter said key decisions are made by doctors. "I always take these reports with a pinch of salt, particularly when it’s Unite the union who are backing the report," he said. "But what we have seen is that by the improvements the government has been putting into the NHS...it is doctors and nurses who make the decisions about delivering frontline patient care."’

BBC News UK, 21 March 2014

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‘Britain and France’ at odds with one another, again

Mr Hollande himself has accused David Cameron of being "a little phoney" over a claim at a summit that the European Union might be looking to develop its own military drone. The French president’s diplomats publicly dismiss the NHS as "ailing" and boast how many more hospital beds there are in France. So when British officials insist that the "entente is tres cordial", one must take it with a pinch of salt. Of course, both countries still do the business.’

BBC News UK, 21 January 2014

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Everyday usage

What she told you yesterday, just take it with a pinch of salt.

Take it with a pinch of salt. He tends to exaggerate.


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