Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Origins of Common Expressions, No. 3: A Drop in the Bucket

A Drop in the Bucket

Meaning of the Expression: A very small proportion of the whole.
Origin of the Expression: The phase is from the BibleIsaiah 40:15: "Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing." (King James Bible)

'A drop in the bucket' is the predecessor of 'a drop in the ocean', which means the same thing, and was first found in a piece from The Edinburgh Weekly Journal, July, 1802: "The votes for the appointment of Bonaparte to be Chief Consul for life are like a drop in the ocean compared with the aggregate of the population of France."

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