it's a small world

it's a small world


  • meeting someone not expected to be at a certain place
  • encountering the same people, events, or situations in an unexpected place
  • someone knows a person you know
  • used to express surprise that events or people at different places are somehow connected


  1. I had no contact with him since school, and I bumped into him at a friend's party! It's a small world.
  2. My old English teacher is your aunt? Well, it's a small world indeed!
  3. Fancy running into you here. I though I would never see you again! It's a small world.
  4. You know my friend from school? Wow, it's a small world, isn't it?
  5. Imagine meeting her at the theater last night. It's a small world.
  6. I never thought I'd run into her at a sports ground - it's a small world.
  7. It was great catching up with you after all this time. I never imagined you would be here - it's a small world.

This phrase is an old one and the origin is not known. It has been used for centuries in Spanish speaking countries. The Spanish form is "El mundo es un pequeno".

I 3 Thoughts

Contribution & Thoughts 3

It is ” el mundo es un pañuelo” in Spanish. “El mundo es (muy) pequeño” is not an idiom in Spanish, at all.

- Juan May 23, 2019

I’m afraid literal translations don’t always work. Saying ‘El mundo es un pequeño’ would make no sense in Spanish. You may say ‘El mundo es MUY pequeño’, but anyway, what we’re looking for here is not a word-by-word translation but one that conveys the actual meaning of the English phrase. Therefore, the correct translation would be “El mundo es un pañuelo”, and that is, in fact, the phrase we use in Spain.

- Sara May 31, 2018

Panuelo, in Spanish, means tissue or handkerchief. The word needed here, is pequeno.

- Anna Miller February 21, 2017

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