sour grapes

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Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) unhappy or tormented memories

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b) depreciation of what you can’t have

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When somebody expresses sour grapes, it means that they put down something simply because they can’t have it.

sour grapes’ can refer to a situation in which someone adopts a negative attitude because someone else is more successful.

The phrase is also often used as another way to express bitterness or resentment.

The idiom sour grapes is taken from an Aesop fable called ‘The fox and the grapes’. In the fable, a hungry fox noticed a bunch of juicy grapes hanging from a vine. After several failed attempts to reach the grapes, the fox gave up and insisted that he didn’t want them anyway because they were probably sour.

French translation

rancœur, dépit, jalousie

How NOT to translate : *raisins aigres


Examples in context

‘US sour grapes over China-LatAm relations

US criticism of the cooperation can only be interpreted as "sour grapes mentality." If the US really cares about Latin American development, it should take practical measures to help Latin American countries develop their economy and improve people’s lives, Geng said.’

Global Times China, 16 July 2019


’Of course the US supports a no deal – it makes a minnow out of Britain.

A weakened country, desperate for a trade deal and in no position to refuse Donald Trump’s demands not just to lower our stringent standards or hamstring our car industry but on foreign policy too ?

To some leave voters, all this will sound like sour grapes from people who can’t bear to admit that there might be life after Brexit.’

The Guardian, 13 August 2019


Everyday usage

I think his comments about that new car are just sour grapes because he can’t afford it.

He should take her criticisms seriously, not treat them as sour grapes

c) angry protests

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