Discuss word origins and meanings.
A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS A DANGEROUS THING / A LITTLE LEARNING IS A DANGEROUS THING
: Knowing a little about something tempts one to overestimate one's abilities. "Just because you've done some home improvement projects, doesn't mean you're capable of building a house. Remember, John, a little knowledge."
The original expression first appeared (using the word 'learning') in 1709 in Alexander Pope's 'Essay on Criticism,' which echoed a sentiment stated in the 16th century by French essayist Montaign. Nowadays the expression is often abbreviated as in the above quote, with the listener left to fill in the rest.
(Facts on File Dictionary of Clichés, American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
Ken G – January 30, 2005
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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