a little knowledge is a dangerous thing

a little knowledge is a dangerous thing


  • gaining some knowledge can make a person believe that they have now become experts in that field
  • this phrase refers to how people behave when they have only some of the knowledge which leads them to act in a way that could be detrimental to them or someone else
  • a little knowledge misleads people into thinking they can manage more than they actually can

Example Sentences

  1. He read about the procedure online and thought he doesn’t need the doctor to get it done. Now he will have to stay in the hospital far more than he might have in the first place, a little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing.
  2. She cut her own fringes and ended up making her face look ridiculous. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing when dealing with the intricate art of hair cutting.


The earliest literary use of the phrase is seen in 1601’s ‘The Essay: Of Atheism’ by Francis Bacon. Then it was used again in 1698 by an anonymous writer in ‘The mystery of phanaticism’. The phrase may have been in use prior to this also.


  • a little learning can be a dangerous thing

A 2 Thoughts

2 Thoughts

All Health Practitioners should have a copy of this phrase/idiom printed out and boldly displayed in their place of practice. In this day of 10 second google searches we should all “drink deep” lest we wind up with a full leg amputation when all that was needed was reassurance and a bandaid for a minor “boo boo”.

– Retired Nurse Practitioner

- Virginia Stewart January 26, 2021

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

- Jashnoor Singh May 12, 2018

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