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 Bible: Isaiah 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."