Idioms that mean "very little"

Discussion in 'WR Thesaurus' started by aloannguyen, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. aloannguyen New Member

    I'm thinking of some idioms that indicate the status of being very little. I remember running across them some time, however, i could not remember them now. Anyone can help? Thanks so much.

    E.g: "What the managements know about the rivals is too little." Is there any other way to rewrite this sentence with idioms?

    ^ ^ Thanks for reading :)
  2. Cagey post mod

    English - US
    Hello aloannguyen. :)

    These are very informal ways of saying that they don't know anything worth knowing:
    They don't know diddly about the rivals. (I think this is American English.)
    They don't know jack about their rivals.
    They know jack-all about their rivals. (I think this is British English.)

    These are less casual.
    What they don't know about their rivals would fill a book.
    What they know about their rivals could be written on the head of a pin.
  3. helenezen Junior Member

    maybe : they hardly know anything about their rivals.
  4. Perictione Junior Member


    This is good. I haven't heard these ones before.
  5. cherkesseya Junior Member

    English & French
    You can also say: They know precious little about the rivals.
  6. aloannguyen New Member

    Thank you so much for your help. Actually, it comes in my mind something like: "a tiny dust of cloud." Has anyone heard of it? Or is it in a piece of some writings?
  7. zarpazo New Member

    Chilean Spanish
  8. alexander01 Junior Member

    Caribe Mexicano
    UK English
    "A tiny dust of cloud" sounds very poetic but does not fit at all, and in addition, if it did fit (which as I say it does not), it would be a "tiny cloud of dust."
    Here are some further alternatives:

    They (management) are completely (bloody) ignorant about the opposition
    They know bugger all about the opposition

    At this lower end of the register of street English words like "management" and "rivals" sound a bit fancy. You have to be clear about where your English is from to use idiomatic forms correctly. I happen to be British.
  9. The Prof

    The Prof Senior Member

    They know next to nothing about their rivals!

    And in very very colloquial (British) English: They know bugger all about their rivals!
    This last one is the sort of thing that the workers might say about their bosses (or about anyone else), but definitely not one to use within hearing of the management, or even within earshot of anyone who might be offended by the use of the word bugger.

    I have just realised that Alexander has also mentioned this expression. His suggestions make me wonder if he is from the same region as I am! :)
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  10. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    They don't know the first thing about their rivals! (This really means that they know nothing about their rivals.)

    They know sweet f.a. about their rivals! (British and :warning:.This really means that they know nothing about their rivals.)

    What they know about our rivals is negligible.

    They know next-to-nothing about our rivals.
    (This means that their knowledge of our rivals is very limited.)
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  11. shawnee

    shawnee Senior Member

    English - Australian
    In reference to the separate versions of 'diddly' and 'squat', respectively, above; I always thought they went together as in 'diddly squat'.
  12. WyomingSue Senior Member

    Cheyenne, WY
    This one is a little old maybe, but "What the management knows about their rivals could fit on a gnat's eyelash." Picturesque, anyway.

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