Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday April 21, 2004
small beer \small beer\ , noun:
1. Weak beer.
2. Insignificant matters; something of little importance.
1. Unimportant; trivial.
We dined early upon stale bread and old mutton with small beer.
-- Ferdinand Mount,, Jem (and Sam)
I was not born for this kind of small beer, says Joan the wife of the colonial governor, who imagines leading armies or "droves of inflamed poets."
-- Nancy Willard, "The Nameless Women of the World", New York Times, December 18, 1988
Call me a geek, but for biologists, marvels like the parasitic flatworm are on tap every day, making the reveries of Hollywood seem like small beer.
-- Jerry A. Coyne, "The Truth Is Way Out There", New York Times, October 10, 1999
Small beer is beer of only slight alcoholic strength; the other senses are derivative.