can’t judge a book by its cover

can’t (or don’t) judge a book by its cover

Meaning:

  • outward appearance cannot be an indicator of someone or something’s value or worth
  • you cannot know what someone or something is like just by looking the person or thing’s appearance
  • the quality or character of  someone or something cannot be judged just by looking at them
  • an opinion of someone or something cannot be formed solely by seeing what’s on the surface

Examples:

  1. The candidate did not look very intelligent, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.
  2. The hotel looked attractive from outside, but the rooms were damp and not well maintained. You can’t judge a book by its cover!
  3. Do not form opinions of a persons character by looking at his appearance. You can’t judge a book by its cover.
  4. At first we did not want to go into the restaurant as it looked small and cramped; but the food was delicious – we realized that you can’t judge a book by its cover.
  5. The car was small and looked unsuited for a long trip, but packed a lot of power and was very solid. You can’t judge a book by its cover.
  6. That man may look very small and insignificant, but don’t judge a book by its cover – he’s a very powerful man in his circle.

Origin:
This phrase has been in use since the mid 1800s.

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