I saw this sentence when watching Leonardo (2021). It sounds archaic and I'm confused. I've seen sentences like "all that glistens is not gold" and "all is not lost", but this one is nothing like those right?

  • "There's more to reality than we can see just by looking up to the heavens" might be a credible paraphrasing. The syntax of All is [not] blah blah seems inherently dated / archaic to me, but I'd say the meaning is extremely modern - so perhaps a more modern paraphrasing might be something along the lines of Cosmologists can't explain everything. Apr 29, 2021 at 12:23
  • It’s not an idiom, so you’ll need to work it out from the context.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 29, 2021 at 13:24
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    @Lawrence Very right. so here is the context: the Duke of Milan said this to his wife when his wife brought in a Venetian young lady who wanted to stay with them instead of leaving for Venice. What he meant is that his wife shall be surrounded by many other beautiful women as I see it. Am I mistaken?
    – nick king
    Apr 29, 2021 at 14:02
  • The moon is associated with Venus, Goddess of Love.
    – Lambie
    Apr 29, 2021 at 14:10
  • @Lambie Could you be more specific? How would you paraphrase that sentence with the moon being Venus?
    – nick king
    Apr 29, 2021 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


By the analog with "all that glisters is not gold" (which means, that you should not consider any thing with glisters like gold just because gold glisters - some things can have glisters and not be a gold) the phrase “all is not the moon surrounded by stars” can be tracted as "there is a moon, surrounded by stars, but if you meet something, surrounded by stars, it does not mean you met a moon".

For example, you can say such thing about an untalanted, but famous actor or about a bad movie, which got 'Oscar'). Or about bad, but hyped movie director - 'surrounded by stars, like Tarantino - but definitely not Tarantino'

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    All that glitters is not gold?
    – Joachim
    Apr 29, 2021 at 12:48
  • Leonardo da Vinci predated Galileo, so I don't think there's any chance he could have even suspected that there might be "other moons". Back then, I don't suppose anyone had any idea that the (our) Sun was in fact just a star, and that the universe is teeming with moons going round planets going round stars going round galactic centre black holes. Apr 29, 2021 at 13:07
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    @Joachim Shakespeare used "glisters" (in Merchant of Venice) although it may have been an older idiom with different wordings before him, and glitters is also common now. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_that_glitters_is_not_gold
    – Stuart F
    Apr 29, 2021 at 15:00
  • knew about 'glitter', but author's question was with 'glisters' and the whole question was not about the word, but about meaning of whole sentence, so I decided to change nothing in original question sentence Apr 29, 2021 at 17:48

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