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From the Oxford dictionary:

sour grapes

used to refer to an attitude in which someone adopts a negative attitude to something because they cannot have it themselves:

government officials dismissed many of the complaints as sour grapes

Is there an equivalent or similar expression in Spanish?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The precise translation may vary depending on the context, but envidia captures the meaning of sour grapes; take a look at the definition according to the DRAE:

envidia.

(Del lat. invidĭa).

  1. f. Tristeza o pesar del bien ajeno.

  2. f. Emulación, deseo de algo que no se posee.

In your concrete example, I would say something like:

Los representantes del gobierno rechazaron la mayoría de las quejas por considerarlas producto de la envidia.

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My Larousse Gran Diccionario translates it this way:

IDIOM it's (a case of) sour grapes es cuestión de despecho

So there may not be an equivalent idiom, or at least not a widely used one.

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1  
Despecho is usually used more in love affairs though it could apply to any other areas (but quite unusual). If I hear "ella está despechada" I would think automatically that she had problems with love. – Juanillo Dec 16 '11 at 14:40
    
I't always good to learn about the limits of your dictionaries! – hippietrail Dec 17 '11 at 7:42

Apart from "envidia" given by Gonzalo Medina, maybe "frustración" can also match the meaning:

El gobierno desestimó muchas de las quejas por ser producto de la frustración.

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There is an Esopo's fable about the fox that passes by a grape vine. There were a bunch of grapes that looked simply delicious... and the fox was hungry. So he jumped and jumped trying to get them, effortlessly. Finally he gave up saying: "They are not ripe yet!". In Spanish the fox said: "¡Están verdes!", or very well could have said "Sour grapes!"

So this could be a good translation: "Están verdes". However, even though valid and used, it's not really widely used.

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I think this idiom comes from the Aesop's fable The Fox and the Grapes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fox_and_the_Grapes. Thus, the most exact (but not necessarily the best) translation would be "uvas verdes", which refers to the same frustration feeling. Please note that it is not a spanish expression in common use.

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Could you say ¡qué envidia! (like you all would say ¡qué lastima!), or something like that?

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