drop in the bucket


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia.

drop in the bucket

A tiny amount, especially when compared to a much larger one. I'm glad Tony started repaying the money he borrowed from me, but the five dollars he gave me yesterday is just a drop in the bucket compared to what he still owes.
See also: bucket, drop

drop in the bucket

 and a drop in the ocean
Fig. an in significant contribution toward solving a large problem. Jane: We need to stop spending so much. Alan: OK. I'll buy a cheaper brand of toothpaste. Jane: But that's just a drop in the bucket. Many companies donated food and medicine to help the survivors of the earthquake, but it was just a drop in the ocean of what was needed.
See also: bucket, drop

drop in the bucket

A very small quantity, especially one that is too small. For example, These contributions are just a drop in the bucket; the new church wing will cost thousands more . John Wycliffe's followers used this seemingly modern phrase in their translation of the Bible (1382), and it also appears in the 1611 King James version (Isaiah 40:15): "Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance."
See also: bucket, drop

drop in the bucket

A small, inadequate quantity.
See also: bucket, drop
References in periodicals archive ?
Since forming in 2006, Drop in the Bucket has completed over 200 projects while operating with a low overhead and a strong focus on sustainability.
For more information, please visit the DROP IN THE BUCKET website http://www.
CONTACT: Marcee Rondan of DROP IN THE BUCKET, +1-818-380-0400, ext.
It's a drop in the bucket to what they should and could do,'' said Ezell, one of the prime sponsors of Proposition 187, which sought to deny benefits to illegal immigrants.
Although just a drop in the bucket compared to the county's $900 million budget, officials saw the windfall as a potential shot in the arm to keep libraries open or experiment with alternative fuel vehicles.
While that sounds steep, such a satellite investment is a drop in the bucket next to the cost of hard-wiring the country with high-capacity coaxial or fiber-optic cable, and the ultimate reason why this new alternative delivery technology is now looking so attractive to big communications players.