A Leopard Never Changes Its spots | Phrase Definition, Origin & Examples
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a leopard can't change his spots

A Leopard Never Changes Its Spots


The phrase “a leopard never changes its spots” means that it’s impossible for one to change their character, even if they will try very hard. The expression, sometimes also used as “a leopard can’t change its spots”, is used to explain the idea that no one can change their innate nature.

Examples in use:

“Brendan: ‘Do you think he’ll ever stop lying to us?’ William: ‘I doubt it; after all, a leopard never changes its spots.’ ”

“The teacher tried to be kind to her students, but a leopard can’t change its spots, she was still very mean.”

Interesting fact

This meaningful phrase dates as far back as the Old Testament. It was used in Jeremiah 13:23, where the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah had originally said: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots?”. "A leopard never changes its spots" derives directly from that phrase and is still used today.