with a grain of salt

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Calque of Latin cum grānō salis (Can this(+) etymology be sourced?), literally with a grain of salt, figuratively with a bit of common sense (from Pliny’s Pompey’s discovery of an antidote against poison to be taken with a grain of salt).


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with a grain of salt (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) With a little common sense and skepticism.
    I take anything I read on the Internet with a grain of salt.
    • 2008, John Douglas, Johnny Dodd, Inside the Mind of BTK: The True Story Behind the Thirty-Year Hunt for the Notorious Wichita Serial Killer, John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN:
      In it, police laid out list of biographical factoids about BTK and urged residents to read it with a grain of salt. Releasing a list of his “claims,” they reasoned, might allow someone, somewhere to make a connection that police couldn't hope to.

Usage notes[edit]

Usually appears modifying the verb "take".

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