Idiomatic expressions are an essential cog in the machine that is the English language. They offer us unique ways to express big ideas or feelings through simple phrases that everyone can relate to.
Take the expression “born with a silver spoon,” for example. We usually use it to describe someone born into wealth or some sort of privilege that most people don’t have. But where did it come from, and did it always have the same meaning?
I’ll explain all the details behind this idiom and show you how to correctly use it with a few sentence examples.
Born with a Silver Spoon Meaning
The idiomatic phrase “born with a silver spoon” is actually supposed to be “born with a silver spoon in your mouth,” and it refers to a person who is born into a wealthy family. It suggests that they have access to significant advantages from birth, and their life has been considerably easier than most others from the lower or middle classes.
It makes me think of a friend I had in high school. She was super sweet and nice to everyone, but both her parents were doctors, as were her grandparents. She spent holidays in Europe and summers in the Caribbean and had her own bathroom with a walk-in shower. We were good friends, but we definitely had nothing in common when it came to our families. She could be considered someone born with a silver spoon in their mouth.
Origin of Born with a Silver Spoon in Your Mouth
The roots of the phrase “born with a silver spoon in your mouth” dates back to sometime in the early 1500s. Historically, wealthy families would usually own silverware, including spoons, as a sign of their high status and wealth. And, when a child was born into families like this, the custom was to gift them a silver spoon for their christening.
William Shakespeare referenced this very custom in his work The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight in 1613, which then spilled into mainstream use and eventually created the idiom we use today.
Other Ways to Say Born with a Silver Spoon
- Born to the purple.
- Given a golden spoon.
- Born into wealth.
- Birthed under a lucky star.
- Born to privilege.
- Born on the right side of the tracks.
- Family money.
- Lucky from birth.
Born with a Silver Spoon Examples in a Sentence
- My friend John was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and he never had to worry about paying for his education as I did.
- Sarah, unlike most of her upper-class friends, wasn’t born with a silver spoon and had to work hard for everything she had achieved in life.
- Our CEO’s daughter started working for the company this week, but she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and no one trusted her.
- While my best friend may have been born with a silver spoon, mine was definitely a plastic spoon.
- I never had the luxury of being born with a silver spoon inside my mouth, so I had to work two jobs to put myself through college.
It’s All About Significance
Idioms aren’t literal phrases, even when they come from literal roots like this one. No one is born with an actual silver spoon in their mouth. But the next time you meet someone who comes from a wealthy family, you know that the phrase can be applied. But be careful using it as it can come across as a jab toward their work ethic or lifestyle.