can't hold a candle to (someone or something)(redirected from can't hold a candle to one)
can't hold a candle to (someone or something)
Cannot compare to someone or something; is not nearly as good or desirable as someone or something. The sequel wasn't bad, but it can't hold a candle to the original. John's fast all right, but he can't hold a candle to Louise!
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.
hold a candle to, not
Also, not fit to or cannot hold a candle to. Be inferior to someone or something, as in This hotel can't hold a candle to the Palace, or This new friend of his is not fit to hold a candle to his former buddies. This expression was already a proverb in John Heywood's collection of 1546 and alludes to holding a candle to provide light for someone, at that time considered a menial chore.
can't hold a candle to someone/something
If you are comparing two people or things and you say that the first can't hold a candle to the second, you mean that the second is much better than the first. None of these teams can hold a candle to the sides led by Franz Beckenbauer in the early 70s. Newspapers, books and radio cannot hold a candle to television. Note: This expression suggests that the first person does not even deserve to hold a light to help the other person to see.
cannot hold a candle tobe nowhere near as good as. informal
In the 16th century, an assistant would literally hold a candle to his superior by standing beside him with a candle to provide enough light for him to work by. The modern version suggests that the subordinate is so far inferior that he is unfit to perform even this humble task.