a big fish in a small pond

a big fish in a small pond

A situation in which one person has more power, influence, knowledge, or experience than others within a small group. It often implies that the person may not have as much clout in "a bigger pond," i.e., a larger group or arena of some kind. Since she was so popular and well-known within the walls of her small high school, Jennifer was used to being a big fish in a small pond. Once she started attending a large state university, however, she suddenly realized that it would take a lot more effort to make friends. His coarse management style made it evident that he was used to being a big fish in a small pond. That attitude certainly won't be tolerated by anyone at his new company.
See also: big, fish, pond, small

big fish in a small pond

Also, big frog in a little pond. A person who is important in a limited arena; someone overqualified for a position or in relation to colleagues. For example, Steve has both a Ph.D. and an M.D., yet he's content with his practice at a rural hospital; he prefers to be a big fish in a little pond . The expression big fish has been slang for an important or influential person since the early 1800s. The addition of in a small pond as a metaphor for an unimportant organization is more recent, as is the substitution of frog. Another variant is the proverb Better a big fish in a little puddle than a little fish in a big puddle.
See also: big, fish, pond, small

a big fish in a small pond

If someone is a big fish in a small pond, they are one of the most important and influential people in a small organization or group. In Rhodesia I was a big fish in a small pond. As a big fish in a small pond, Smith found it easy to dominate fashion photography in Australia. Note: This expression can be varied, for example by using pool instead of pond or by talking about a small fish in a big pond. Being a big fish in a tiny, stagnant pool clearly gives controversial journalists ideas way above their station. Now I'm the smallest fish in a very big pond. Note: You often use this expression to suggest that someone would be less important or interesting if they were part of a larger organization or group. Note: Another American expression for this is a big frog in a small pond.
See also: big, fish, pond, small

a big fish in a small (or little) pond

a person seen as important and influential only within the limited scope of a small organization or group.
See also: big, fish, pond, small

big fish in a small pond

An individual who is important or prominent only in a small group. This cliché, of American provenance, is used both disparagingly (“He’s the firm’s general counsel, but since there are only three employees he’s just a big fish in a small pond”) and more positively (“She didn’t get accepted to the university, but it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond”).
See also: big, fish, pond, small
References in periodicals archive ?
I was talking to a pal about Adams' decision and he said that Wolfie "clearly likes being a big fish in a small pond".
Never mind being a big fish in a small pond or a big fish in a big pond, in an ideal world I would like to be a small fish in a big pond.