Don't judge a book by its cover

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The English idiom "don't judge a book by its cover" is a metaphorical phrase which means "you shouldn't prejudge the worth or value of something, by its outward appearance alone".[1]

Early reference[edit]

  • In George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss (1860), Mr Tulliver uses the phrase in discussing Daniel Defoe's The History of the Devil, saying how it was beautifully bound.
  • The preceding version was then publicised by the 1946 murder mystery novel by Edwin Rolfe and Lester Fuller, Murder in the Glass Room, in the form of "You can never tell a book by its cover."[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hirsch, E. D., Joseph Francis Kett, and James Trefil. "Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover". The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. 3rd edition. 2002. Print. *MLA Format*
  2. ^ "Judging a Book: New P. G. Wodehouse covers from W. W, Norton", The Quivering Pen, 20 June 2012.

External links[edit]