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Idiom

Storm in a Teacup: Origin and Meaning

Meaning
A lot of fuss that is being made about something that is not important.
Origin
A storm in a teacupA storm in a teacup is the British equivalent to the US expression a tempest in a teapot, and the earliest variation of this idiom dates back to 52 BC when Cicero wrote:

“excitabat enim fluctus in simpulo ut dicitur Gratidius” loosely translated as: “for Gratidius raised a tempest in a ladle, as the saying is.”

This expression has been modified through time, but the current meaning of a storm in a teacup actually can be traced back to Lord Chancellor Thurlow who referred to an uprising on the Isle of Man as a storm in a teacup, i.e. a battle that has been exaggerated, blown out of all proportion and nothing really to worry about.

Since then this idiom has maintained the same meaning and similar versions of this idiom can be found in numerous languages today:
  • – Arabic: زوبعة في فنجان zawba’a fi finjan (a storm in a cup)
  • – Chinese: 茶杯裡的風波、茶壺裡的風暴 (winds and waves in a teacup; storm
    in a teapot)
  • – French: une tempête dans un verre d’eau (a storm in a glass of water)
  • – German: Sturm im Wasserglas (storm in a glass of water)
  • – Hungarian: Vihar egy pohár vízben (a storm in a glass of water)
  • – Italian: una tempesta in un bicchiere d’acqua (a storm in a glass of water)
  • – Japanese: コップの中の嵐 koppu no naka no arashi (a storm in a glass)
  • – Korean: 찻잔속의 태풍 chat jan sokui taepung (a typhoon in a teacup)
  • – Portuguese: Tempestade em copo de água / Uma tempestade num copo
    de água (storm in a glass of water / a tempest in a glass of water);
  • – Russian: Буря в стакане burya v stakane (a tempest in a glass)
  • – Spanish: Una tormenta en un vaso de agua (a storm in a glass of water)
  • – Turkish: Bir kaşık suda fırtına (storm in a spoon of water)
Examples
– I saw my neighbours Sue and Jane arguing outside, but it ended up being a storm in a teacup.

– The NASDAQ index has just fallen by 0.5%. If you ask me, we just have to ride it out as I think it’s just a storm in a teacup.

– What’s going on? Why is the news reporting on such trivial stuff? Don’t worry; it’s just a storm in a teacup. We’ll get to the bottom of what the government is trying to hide soon enough.