doesn't hold a candle

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doesn't hold a candle

Is not nearly as good or desirable as someone or something else. Can also be used with "can't." The sequel wasn't bad, but it doesn'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
References in classic literature ?
Have you noticed that it is the most civilised gentlemen who have been the subtlest slaughterers, to whom the Attilas and Stenka Razins could not hold a candle, and if they are not so conspicuous as the Attilas and Stenka Razins it is simply because they are so often met with, are so ordinary and have become so familiar to us.
I assure you Talleyrand couldn't hold a candle to me.
One can't say anything about him now, but he was just the ordinary type of showy young soldier, not fit to hold a candle to a man like Thomson.
I do, and I tell you there's no infantry in France can stand against Rooshian infantry, and no general of Boney's that's fit to hold a candle to Wittgenstein.
The banker was evidently a ruler, but there was an opposition party, and even among his supporters there were some who allowed it to be seen that their support was a compromise, and who frankly stated their impression that the general scheme of things, and especially the casualties of trade, required you to hold a candle to the devil.
At a word since I must needs, for once, hold a candle to the devil what ransom am I to pay for walking on Watling-street, without having fifty men at my back?
But an experienced eye would have fixed on him at once as the village blacksmith, after seeing the humble deference with which the big saucy fellow took off his hat and stroked his hair to the farmers; for Chad was accustomed to say that a working-man must hold a candle to a personage understood to be as black as he was himself on weekdays; by which evil-sounding rule of conduct he meant what was, after all, rather virtuous than otherwise, namely, that men who had horses to be shod must be treated with respect.