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hold a candle to To be comparable in degree or kind; to be equal to, or on the same level with; to compare favorably with. This expression dates from the 16th century. At that time, it was the custom for a servant to carry a candle to light the way for his master on a nighttime walk. This subordinate position required familiarity with the layout of a town. A servant who did not know his way around was considered unfit or unable to hold a candle to his master. Figurative use of this expression—heard almost exclusively in the negative—suggests that the disparity between two people or things is so great as to render comparison impossible. One who can not or does not hold a candle to another is considered inferior.
Edith is pretty, very pretty; but she can’t hold a candle to Nellie.
(William E. Norris, No New Things, 1883)
huckleberry above one’s persimmon Beyond one’s ability or capacity; also the persimmon above one’s huckleberry. This expression, of unknown origin, dates from the early 19th century. A huckleberry is a small edible fruit; a persimmon is a plum-sized fruit. Perhaps it is this concrete contrast in physical size that gave rise to the abstract contrast in ability implied in this and similar expressions. Thomas Bangs Thorpe uses the phrase in describing the hunting exploits of one of the characters in The Mysteries of the Backwoods (1846):
It was a huckleberry above the persimmon of any native of the country.
stack up against To compare with; to correlate with or compete with. This expression alludes to the common method of evaluation in which contrasting items are set side by side in piles, and examined for quantitative comparison. The phrase is quite common in the United States.
For it tells him the productivity of his store, how one department stacks up against another. (Business Week, April, 1950)
|Noun||1.||comparability - qualities that are comparable; "no comparison between the two books"; "beyond compare"|