Latin Proverb # 25 – Ne mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos


Written by Amelie Rosengren, M.A.

You have probably heard the expression to not cast your pearls before swine, or as we would say in Latin: Ne mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos. But what does it mean?

Wasted Value

Sometimes we waste good things, be it food, gold, energy or advice, anything valuable, on someone who will not appreciate them or understand their value. Advicing against this wasteful practice one would in Latin say:

Ne mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos 
— Versio Vulgata, Matt. 7.6

i.e. Don’t cast your pearls before swine. 

 Petri Breugelii iunioris "Parels voor de zwijnen werpen"

Christ Cautions

The proverb refers to Jesus’s sermon on the mount in Matthew 7.6:

nolite dare sanctum canibus, neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos, ne forte conculcent eas pedibus suis et conversi disrumpant vos
— Versio Vulgata, Matt. 7.6

i.e. "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."

The biblical proverb is generally interpreted as a warning by Jesus to his followers not to offer biblical doctrine to people who are unable to appreciate and value it.

Moving Flashcard

The pigs in the mini-video/moving flashcard are Vietnamese Pot-bellied pigs. Most of the time we just call them mini-pigs. Their piglets look like this: 


Ne mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos in other languages? 

What would you say in your language(s)? Or do you have some fun new versions of this proverb? Let us know in the comments below! (By the way - Have you ever tried to give pearls to pigs? Do they like them?)