Definitions

born with a silver spoon

Silver spoon

The English language expression silver spoon is an expression for wealth; someone born into a wealthy family is said to have "been born with a silver spoon in his mouth". In Australia the expression "silvertail" is also often used, although it has an almost identical meaning.

Silver spoons, because of their weight and number, are often one of the most valuable parts of a rich household's effects, a traditional target for burglars. For example, in the feature film Far and Away, the character Shannon plans to pay for her emigration from Ireland to the United States with spoons that she stole from her wealthy landowner parents.

The expression gave rise to the title of the 1980s television series Silver Spoons, starring Rick Schroder and Joel Higgins.

The song "Substitute" by The Who parodies this term with the lyrics "I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth".

Then-Texas State Treasurer Ann Richards was best known for saying "Poor George. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth" at the 1988 Democratic National Convention.

The Italian cookbook Il cucchiaio d'argento has a title that translates as "The Silver Spoon", and uses that title in its English translation; the title is, according to the introduction to the Phaidon Press English edition, derived from the English expression.

Silver has powerful antibacterial effects, and it was observed that children fed with silver spoons had fewer illnesses than children fed with spoons made from other metals . However only wealthier families could afford the silver spoons. From this practice came the expression, "born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth", denoting a person's wealthy heritage.

See also

This phrase is also found in sorts in the Creedance Clearwater Revival Song "Fortunate Son" in which it says "Some folks are born silver spoon in hand, Lord, don't they help themselves, oh." referring to being born into wealth.

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