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A little history about this idiom: The phrase first appeared in 1929 in the American journal American Speech as "you can't judge a book by its binding." In 1946 the phrase appeared in the murder mystery novel Murder in the Glass Room (by Edwin Rolfe and Lester Fuller) as "you can never tell a book by its cover."
While the phrase itself may be born of the 20th century, the idea has existed much longer. In the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, the Roman author Juvenal wrote in Satires, "Fronti nulla fides," which translates as, "Never have faith in the front." ••••