not fit to hold a candle to (someone or something)

not fit to 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's not fit to hold a candle to the original. John's fast all right, but he isn’t fit to hold a candle to Louise!
See also: candle, fit, hold, not, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: candle, hold, not
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

hold a candle to, cannot/not fit to

To be vastly inferior to someone. Holding a candle for someone else was already considered a menial task in the sixteenth century. “Who that worst maie, shall holde the candell” appeared in John Heywood’s 1546 collection of proverbs, and “I be not worthy to hold a candle to Aristotle,” wrote Sir Edward Dering (1640). A rhyming example appears in John Byrom’s poetic account, On the Feud between Handel and Bononcini (1773): “Others aver that he to Handel is scarcely fit to hold the candle.”
See also: candle, cannot, fit, hold, not, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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