To be highly inferior, to be substandard in a certain skill


  • In the 16th century, a servant called as a “linkboy” held candles for people during the days of good lighting. This was an ordinary job assigned to poor or inferior ones. If linkboy didn’t know the route and direction of roads, he was called to be “not able to hold a candle to someone”. Thus, this idiom came into practice to refer the lower in rank people.      

Mike can’t hold a candle to Sara when it comes to a typing speed.

Submitted on February 25, 2019


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