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A drop in the bucket/ocean

To be a small part of a whole / to mean very little
A drop in the bucket/ocean This phrase comes from the Bible where it says: ‘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.’ (Isaiah 40:15, King James Version). Here, the Bible says that nations are insignificant to God. Similarly, the idiom essentially means that a small drop of water in a bucket will not change the weight of the bucket, and therefore is insignificant or does not have a lot of meaning.

This idiom later evolved into ‘a drop in the ocean’. In The Edinburgh Weekly Journal (1802), it says: ‘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.’

I try to read a book every month, but that’s just a drop in the bucket compared with how much some of my classmates read.

My donation may seem like just a drop in the bucket, but every drop counts!

My boss Jason gets paid £100,000 every year, but that’s just a drop in the ocean compared with what some of the other managers earn.

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