can't hold a candle to

can't hold a candle to someone

Fig. not [to be] equal to someone; unable to measure up to someone. (Also with cannot.) Mary can't hold a candle to Ann when it comes to athletics. As for singing, John can't hold a candle to Jane.
See also: candle, hold

somebody/something can't hold a candle to somebody/something else

also somebody/something doesn't hold a candle to somebody/something else
someone or something is not as good as someone or something else For Walter, basketball and football can't hold a candle to baseball.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form something can hold a candle to something else: Not one of her drawings can hold a candle to yours.
See also: candle, hold

can't hold a candle to somebody/something

if someone or something cannot hold a candle to someone or something else, they are not as good as that other person or thing These pop bands that you hear nowadays can't hold a candle to the groups we used to listen to in the sixties.
See also: candle, hold
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