Hidden Gem: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
July 19, 2023

"Hidden gem" is an idiom that means something has exceptional quality but is not especially popular or widely known. It can refer to something possessing a value or beauty that is not immediately apparent. In other words, it receives far less recognition than it deserves.

In short:

  • It has a quality or value that is not obvious at first sight.
  • Something great but not famous.
  • It can imply hidden value or hidden beauty.

What Does "Hidden Gem" Mean?

The meaning of the idiom "hidden gem" is straightforward. It means that something is underrated or overlooked by most people. For instance, a movie with low ratings but very good could be considered a hidden gem. Similarly, a restaurant that is not advertised but has delicious food could also be a hidden gem.

Other variations and related expressions of the term "hidden gem":

  • A diamond in the rough means someone with great potential who needs improvement or polishing.
  • A needle in a haystack means something complicated to find among many similar things.
  • A best-kept secret means something delicious but not widely known or shared.

Depending on the context, these expressions may have different connotations or nuances but have similar meanings to "hidden gem."

Where Does "Hidden Gem" Come From?

The origin and history of the idiom "hidden gem" are unclear. However, some sources suggest it may have derived from the literal meaning of finding a precious stone hidden or buried in the ground. In conclusion, this could be related to the ancient practice of mining for gems or the biblical parable of the hidden treasure.

Historical Example

  • One of the earliest uses of the term "hidden gem" in print was in 1853, in a book called "The History of England" by Thomas Babington Macaulay. He used hidden gems as a metaphor for people with extraordinary talents who never use them properly.
  • Another early use of the term "hidden gem" was in 1872, in a book called "The Life of Charles Dickens" by John Forster. He used hidden gems as a metaphor for beautiful but not well-known places.

Examples of "Hidden Gem" in Pop Culture

A hidden gem in pop culture is not widely known or appreciated but has a lot of quality, creativity, or originality. Here are some hidden gems in pop culture, particularly in movies:

  • The Platform (2019): A Spanish dystopian thriller film that depicts a vertical prison where inmates are randomly assigned to different levels and have to share a limited amount of food that descends from the top.
  • Russian Doll (2019): A comedy-drama series that follows a woman who repeatedly dies and relives the same night in an ongoing time loop.
  • The Midnight Gospel (2020): An animated series that follows a space-caster who travels across different worlds and interviews various beings about existential topics.

10 Examples of "Hidden Gem" in Sentences

Here are some examples of how to use "hidden gem" in various sentences, demonstrating different contexts and situations.

  • I found this book in a thrift store, which was a hidden gem. Lo and behold, it's one of the best novels I've ever read!
  • Check out this museum if you're looking for a hidden gem in Paris. It's not very crowded, and it has some fantastic artwork.
  • She is a hidden gem in the music industry. She has a beautiful voice and writes her songs, but she hasn't been discovered yet.
  • This game is a hidden gem. It has stunning graphics, engaging gameplay, and a captivating story, but it didn't get much attention when released. That's why I am streaming it on Twitch.
  • He is a hidden gem in our company. He is brilliant, hardworking, and creative but doesn't get the recognition he deserves.
  • I scoured the internet for restaurants, and I found this one, which is a hidden gem. It's tucked away in a small alley but serves the most delicious food I've ever tasted.
  • She is a hidden gem in the fashion world. She designs her clothes and accessories, but she doesn't have a lot of followers on social media. Nevertheless, I'm head over heels for her!
  • Holy cow! This podcast is a hidden gem. It covers fascinating topics and has excellent guesses. Sadly, it has few reviews and ratings.
  • He is a hidden gem in the sports world. He is talented and skilled but doesn't get much media coverage or fan support.
  • Oh, snap! This place is a hidden gem. It's a beautiful park with a lake, a waterfall, and much wildlife. Sadly, it's not that popular.

Other Ways to Say "Hidden Gem"

  • Buried treasure
  • Rare find
  • Hidden delight
  • Unexplored wonder
  • Hidden beauty
  • Secret gem
  • Hidden attraction
  • Sleeper hit
  • Secret treasure
  • Hidden oasis

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Hidden Gem"

  • What is the opposite of the idiom "hidden gem"?

The opposite of a "hidden gem" could be overrated, overexposed, or disappointing.

  • What is the origin of the idiom "hidden gem"?

The origin of the idiom "hidden gem" is unclear, but it was used in print as early as 1853.

  • How do you use "hidden gem" in a sentence?

In a sentence, you can use "hidden gem" as a noun or adjective.

  • Is "hidden gem" an idiom or a metaphor?

"Hidden gem" is both an idiom and a metaphor. An idiom is a phrase or group of words with a symbolic meaning that differs from their literal meaning.

  • What are some synonyms for "hidden gem"?

Some synonyms for "hidden gem" are an undiscovered treasure, sleeper hit, cult classic, best-kept secret, a diamond in the rough, needle in a haystack, rare find, etc.

  • What are some antonyms for "hidden gem"?

Some antonyms for "hidden gem" are overrated, flop, mainstream trash, disappointing dud, worst nightmare, rotten apple, lousy egg, etc.

  • Can you use "hidden gem" for people?

Yes, you can use the idiom "hidden gem" for people. You can use it to describe someone with great qualities or abilities who is not famous or appreciated.

Example: That guy is a hidden gem in the office. He is such a beacon of light to his co-workers.

  • Can you use "hidden gem" for a place?

Yes, you can use "hidden gem" for places. You can use it to describe beautiful areas but not very popular or crowded.

  • Can you use "hidden gem" for things?

Yes, you can use "hidden gem" for things. You can use it to describe something enjoyable or valuable but not well-known or recognized.

Example: This recipe is a hidden gem from my grandmother's cookbook. It's simple and delicious. I couldn't be happier to have discovered this!

  • Can you use "hidden gem" sarcastically?

Yes, you can use "hidden gem" sarcastically. When you sarcastically use a hidden gem, you are implying that something is not a gem but rather mediocre, disappointing, or unpleasant.

Example: You should check out that restaurant. It's such a hidden gem. The food poisoning was a bonus.

Final Thoughts about "Hidden Gem"

"Hidden gem" is a common and valuable idiom in the English language. It can help you express your appreciation or admiration for something that is not famous or popular but has something special or unique. Above all, it can help you discover new things that may surprise or delight you.

Here are some key points to remember about "hidden gem":

  • We consider a "hidden gem" exceptional or top quality but not especially popular or widely known.
  • We can use the idiom "hidden gem" for various things, such as entertainment, food, or travel.
  • Anyone can relate hidden value or beauty with a "Hidden Gem."
  • It may have derived from the literal meaning of finding a precious stone hidden or buried in the ground.
  • Writers and speakers can use "hidden gem" as a noun or an adjective.
  • We can use variations and related expressions to "hidden gem," for instance, a diamond in the rough, needle in a haystack, best-kept secret, etc.
  • Lastly, it can be used sarcastically to mock something that is not very good or impressive.

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