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

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 ?
As he was saying all these, I mimic our professor in college with 'are you a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond?' which is a litmus test of character.
The Man City starlet has revealed that he likes to go fishing with his dad during his downtime and journalists have swallowed the bait with relish, labelling him a big fish in a small pond at Under-21 level.
The idea here is to set the tone and to be the big fish in a small pond that is growing."
These men are big fish in a big pond not big fish in a small pond as per rugby players.
"It's probably better to be a big fish in a small pond than just to be at the bottom in the SFL.
Most of the rest of his family emigrated as well, but one brother, Shmiel, decided to return to the ancestral village and live as a "big fish in a small pond," rather than as a small fish in the ocean of America.
I was talking to a pal about Adams' decision and he said that Wolfie "clearly likes being a big fish in a small pond".