All cats are grey in the dark
The proverb, which turns on the concept that the night obscures all distinguishing features, is used in a variety of contexts.
When all candels be out, all cats be grey. All thyngs are then of one colour.
[c 1549 J. Heywood Dialogue of Proverbs i. v. A6V]
All cattes are grey in the darke‥and therefore (good madam) you doe well to preferre the eie.
[1596 T. Lodge Margarite of America H2V]
And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior.
[1745 B. Franklin Letter 25 June in Papers (1961) III. 31]
‘If she isn't, what becomes of your explanation?’‥‘Oh, it doesn't matter; at night all cats are grey.’
[1886 H. James Princess Casamassima I. xiv.]
He braked as a cat scuttled in front of him. ‥‘Was that black?’ ‘All cats are grey in the dark,’ Tess quoted. ‘But it could have been. That's lucky.’
[1990 R. Richardson Dying of Light xi. 130]
Related to: similarity and dissimilarity
The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs. Copyright © 1982, 1992, 1998, 2003, 2004 by Oxford University Press.