sour grapes

plural noun

Definition of sour grapes

: disparagement of something that has proven unattainable his criticisms are just sour grapes

Examples of sour grapes in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Over the past decade, the idea that the higher-education bubble is about to burst has been waved away as headline pessimism or conservative sour grapes over the leftward drift of college faculties. Allen C. Guelzo, WSJ, "America’s Disappearing Private Colleges," 21 Feb. 2019 There is also the small matter of widespread allegations of malfeasance and corruption involved in the bidding process, and some lingering sour grapes that the United States missed out because of it. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Qatar is the World Cup every fan should attend," 13 July 2018 If this imbalance were limited to a single chamber of the legislature, or a single election cycle, the Democrats’ frequent carping about a stacked electoral deck might sound like sour grapes. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 And part of that’s sour grapes and partly that’s true., "Refugees, optimism and literary roots: Viet Thanh Nguyen and Mohsin Hamid in conversation," 25 May 2018 International officials may be tempted to dismiss these allegations as just sour grapes from parties that expected to do well and are disappointed. Christine Mccaffray Van Den Toorn, Washington Post, "Was Iraq’s recent election a democratic success? Depends whom you ask.," 23 May 2018 In the latest entry in The MMQB’s Exit Interview series, Fox talked to me about his new gig, retirement (?) from coaching, if there are any sour grapes about how things ended in Chicago and more after finishing his round. Jonathan Jones,, "John Fox Gets Why the Bears Let Him Go," 11 May 2018 The traditional route is for one person’s lawyer to draw up a first draft and send it to the other person’s lawyer to negotiate, but Israel strongly discourages this back-and-forth approach, which often spawns passive-aggression and sour grapes. Charlotte Cowles, The Cut, "What Is a Prenup? A Soon-to-Be-Married Person’s Guide," 19 Apr. 2018 For Frantz, however, the fond memories of making Naked far outweigh the sour grapes of its aftermath. Ron Hart, Billboard, "Talking Heads' 'Naked' at 30: Chris Frantz & Producer Steve Lillywhite Look Back on Band's Swan Song," 26 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sour grapes.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sour grapes

1760, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sour grapes

from the fable ascribed to Aesop of the fox who after finding himself unable to reach some grapes he had desired disparaged them as sour

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Time Traveler for sour grapes

The first known use of sour grapes was in 1760

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More Definitions for sour grapes

sour grapes


English Language Learners Definition of sour grapes

informal : unfair criticism that comes from someone who is disappointed about not getting something

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Comments on sour grapes

What made you want to look up sour grapes? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to mark by some ceremony or observation

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