tempest in a teapot


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

a tempest in a teapot

A disproportionate reaction of anger, concern, or displeasure over some minor or trivial matter. If you ask me, these protests are nothing but a tempest in a teapot that's been stoked by a media campaign of misinformation. I really think you're making a tempest in a teapot over this. It's just a tiny scratch on the car!
See also: teapot, tempest

tempest in a teapot

Also, tempest in a teacup. A great disturbance or uproar over a matter of little or no importance. For example, All that because a handful of the thousand invited guests didn't show up? What a tempest in a teapot! This expression has appeared in slightly different forms for more than 300 years. Among the variations are storm in a cream bowl, tempest in a glass of water, and storm in a hand-wash basin. The British prefer storm in a teacup. The current American forms were first recorded in 1854. For a synonym, see much ado about nothing.
See also: teapot, tempest

tempest in a teapot, a

A storm over a trifle; much ado about nothing. This expression has appeared in slightly varying forms for hundreds of years—a storm in a cream bowl (1678 letter from the duke of Ormond to the earl of Arlington), a tempest in a glass of water (the grand duke Paul of Russia, ca. 1790), a storm in a hand-wash basin (Lord Thurlow, ca. 1830), and, throughout much of the nineteenth century, a storm in a teacup (still preferred in Britain). In the twentieth century it changed to its present form, at least in America.
See also: tempest
References in periodicals archive ?
Frank Ricci, the director of government affairs for the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA), summed up the controversy as being "between REBNY and those who want licensing." He added that he considered the whole debate "a tempest in a teapot."
Kurt Wright, CFA, and head of debt for Lend Lease Real Estate Investments, noted that while the capital contractions of late 1998 may have ultimately been a "tempest in a teapot," the abrupt reaction of real estate markets demonstrated just "how much debt could influence equity." Wright, who was part of a panel discussion on capital markets headed by Michael Humphreys of Courtland Partners, noted that even with the tremendous fall of CMBS values late in the year, more than $100 billion in real estate loans were made during 1998 and that delinquencies were at their lowest in 20 years.
Responding to user complaints about the cost of Tempest equipment and the sometimes shoddy way they met the NACSIM 5100A specifications, the NSA reduced the number of applications in which Tempest protection was required and established new procedures for certifying that equipment adhered to the standard (see "Tempest in a Teapot?" JED, July 1989, p.
It may be a tempest in a teapot (or chaos in a coffeepot), but the apparent association of heavy coffee drinking and the danger of dying from heart disease continues to command attention.
However, we feel we must dispel any suggestion that "Surbiton is just stirring up a tempest in a teapot." Gold is an important element of the Australian economy.
Whether it's a tempest in a teapot or the beginning of a virtual headache, the warnings are everywhere about possible building mishaps occurring at the stroke of midnight year 2000 - Nostradamus notwithstanding.