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.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.