Can you please tell me an English proverb which means "to give something to somebody who does not recognize the value of that thing"?

3 Answers 3


Depending on the language level you're looking for. From the bible,

to cast pearls before swine

"To give things of value to those who will not understand or appreciate it."


If you need something as valid but more common

Giving him this gift is simply a waste/ it's wasted on him/her/me


  • 1
    'Throw pearls before pigs'" is a variant, what means give someone else something they don't deserve or appreciate.
    – Graffito
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 0:12
  • 5
    'On October 14, 1938 the Hartford Courant printed the celebrity gossip column of Sheilah Graham containing this tale: Dorothy Parker tells me of the last time she encountered Playwright Clare Boothe. The two ladies were trying to get out of a doorway at the same time. Clare drew back and cracked, “Age before beauty, Miss Parker.” As Dotty swept out, she turned to the other guests and said. “Pearls before swine.”' quoteinvestigator.com/2011/06/29/pearls-before-swine (Doesn't really help with the question - which is why it's a comment not an answer - but it's always cracked me up.)
    – MT_Head
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 0:40
  • The equivalent in India would be - "a donkey doesn't know about the fragrance of camphor"
    – BiscuitBoy
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 11:01
  • @BiscuitBoy Hmm, that is interesting ! In my native language ( Georgian ) we have the same kind of idiom - " a donkey does not know what kind of fruit persimmon is ".
    – Beqa
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 21:28

Consider, caviar(e) to the general

caviar to the general: something of an exceptionally high quality or intelligence not befitting or appreciated by those who consume, see, or partake in it. "General" here refers to the general population, not a military general. I wrote several novels earlier in my career that were very well received by academics, but they were caviar to the general and never achieved popular success.

Farlex Dictionary of Idioms


I don't know about english, maybe you have something equivalent, but in french we have a proverb which is "To give jam to pigs".

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