Impossibilities

Latin phrases: Æthiopem de-albare. Arenas arare. Laterem lavare. Pumice aridius. In asino lanam. English phrases:

Gathering grapes from thistles. Fetching water in a sieve. Washing a blackamoor white. Catching wind in cabbage nets. Flaying eels by the tail Making cheese of chalk. Squaring the circle. Turning base metal into gold. The elixir of life. Making a silk purse of a sow's ear. (And hundreds more.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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