can't hold a candle to someone/something

can't hold a candle to (someone or something)

Cannot compare to someone or something; is not nearly as good or desirable as someone or something. The sequel wasn't bad, but it can't hold a candle to the original. John's fast all right, but he can't hold a candle to Louise!
See also: candle, hold

can't hold a candle to someone/something

If you are comparing two people or things and you say that the first can't hold a candle to the second, you mean that the second is much better than the first. None of these teams can hold a candle to the sides led by Franz Beckenbauer in the early 70s. Newspapers, books and radio cannot hold a candle to television. Note: This expression suggests that the first person does not even deserve to hold a light to help the other person to see.
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