A Leopard Can't Change His Spots (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "A Leopard Can't Change His Spots"?

The term "a leopard can't change his spots" means you cannot change who you are. It is most commonly used to refer to a person who has acted badly to suggest that the person will act badly again. For example:
  • We will catch him next time. And, there will be a next time. A leopard can't change his spots.
The term comes from the Bible:

Book of Jeremiah: Chapter 13: Verse 23

"Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." (King James version)

An Earlier Version (from Geneva Bible, 1560)

"Can the blacke More change his skin? or the leopard his spottes?"
A Leopard Can't Change His Spots (Origin)

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See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs

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