Pure as the driven snow

  • Pure as the driven snow is an idiom dates to the 1800s, but has much older roots. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom pure as the driven snow, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.


    Pure as the driven snow is an idiom that describes someone or something that is innocent, above reproach, or uncontaminated. For instance, a young, uncorrupted person may be said to be as pure as the driven snow. The expression pure as the driven snow is a simile, which is a phrase used in a sentence that is a comparison of one thing with something else using the word like or the word as. The phrase pure as the driven snow came into use around the turn of the nineteenth century, though it is most probably derived from Shakespeare. In The Winter’s Tale, Autolycus says: “Lawn as white as driven snow.” In Hamlet, the title character says: “…be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow…” Driven snow is snow that has been blown in a storm into drifts and has not been walked upon.



    They apparently think this has the effect of making them look as pure as the driven snow. (California Globe)

    Besides, is there anyone in politics generally, and in the ruling coalition in Maharashtra in particular, who can claim to be pure as the driven snow? (Free Press Journal)

    “So my point was, why should we just automatically assume that in every other area that the pharmaceutical companies are pure as the driven snow?” she says. (San Antonio Current)

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