To cast the first stone


What's the meaning of the phrase 'To cast the first stone'?

Be the first to attack a sinner. The implication in Jesus’ teaching was that the members of the congregation were only in a position to condemn a sinner if they were without sin themselves – in other words, ‘judge not lest you be judged’.

What's the origin of the phrase 'To cast the first stone'?

This phrase derives from the Bible- John 8:7. The earliest biblical example of it in print in English comes in Miles Coverdale’s Bible, 1535:

Now whyle they contynued axynge him, he lift him self vp, and sayde vnto them: He that is amonge you without synne, let him cast the first stone at her. 

Trend of to cast the first stone in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.