Tempest in a teapot and storm in a teacup

Photo of author


A tempest in a teapot is a small problem or event that has been blown out of proportion. A tempest in a teapot is an American idiom, the British equivalent is a storm in a teacup. Other languages have similar idioms, including the French une tempete dans un verre d’eau, or a storm in a glass of water. The basic sentiment of a tempest in a teapot and a storm in a teacup seems to have originated in 52 B.C.E. in the writings of Cicero, in a phrase that translates as stirring up billows in a ladle. The Duke of Ormand, in a letter written in 1678, refers to something that is but a storm in a cream bowl. Both of the idioms a tempest in a teapot and a storm in a teacup seem to have originated in Scotland in the early half of the 1800s.


There have been some hiccups along the way: The $6 billion in losses racked up by the “London whale” — a U.K.-based trader in the bank’s Chief Investment Office — in 2012 raised genuine concerns about even Dimon’s ability to manage an organization of JPMorgan’s complexity (his early qualification of the problem as “a tempest in a teapot” came back to haunt him). (USA Today)

Drinking my morning coffee and skipping around on Twitter recently I came across an interesting little tempest in a teapot involving Glenn Thrush, Politico’s chief political correspondent. (The Santa Fe New Mexican)

“The so-called ‘Ahn wind’ is more than a tempest in a teapot,” said Lee Taek-soo, head of Realmeter. (The Korea Joongang Daily)

EASA panic storm in a teacup (The Bangkok Post)

But unfortunately that’s not where it stops and the millions lost on the stock market are inconsequential when compared to how this will affect the lives of every South African. This is not a storm in a teacup. (The Independent)

Well, coming back to Anjala (starring Vimal) one waits with bated breath to see whether the storm in the teacup will die down. (The Hindustan Times)