a big fish in a small pond / big frog in a little pond

  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, kirmakX6on. Both idioms mean the same thing. Please remember to type out your source when you refer to a source in your question. The link you provided is helpful, but if that link is ever broken, future readers won't be able to find the source.

    Source: Goenglish.com's Most Popular List of Idioms and Phrases.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I've never heard "a big frog in a small pond" used as an idiom before. From the goenglish website and from owlman's comments it's clear that the expression is possible in AE, but in BE we use the idiom "a big fish in a small pond".
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I've never heard "a big frog in a small pond" used as an idiom before. From the goenglish website and from owlman's comments it's clear that the expression is possible in AE, but in BE we use the idiom "a big fish in a small pond".
    I haven't heard it either. On the face of it, it seems a cute change to the standard phrase, but on thinking about it, it's not really as appropriate since the frogs in the big pond don't get that much bigger and there aren't a lot of frogs in the sea (to crossover into another "fishy" saying). ;)
     

    gianpieropiccolo

    New Member
    Italiano
    Hi everybody,

    I'd like to know if this idiom is used to reduce the value of a person: do we have to use this idiom with prudence? Is it denigrating idiom?

    Thanks in advance.
    Gianpiero
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, Gianpiero. It is mildly insulting to say "He is a big fish in a little pond". It is an insult, but it's not a very serious insult.
     

    gianpieropiccolo

    New Member
    Italiano
    Thank you. There is a similar expression in Napolitan Language: "<< --- Faje o' gallo ncoppa a munnezza! --- >>" (You're behaving as a roster on top of the rubbish! / You're a roster on top of the rubbish) ;-)
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, we have that expression in English too (cock of the midden/dung heap), but that's tonally different in my view.

    I'd say that 'he a big fish in a small pond' is not as derogatory, at least to the man in question, as has been suggested, and if construed as an attack, could just as easily be an attack on the pond itself.

    I can well imagine asking someone whether they'd prefer to be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond. This, to me, seems tonally neutral.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top