Blind Leading the Blind

Meaning of Idiom ‘Blind Leading the Blind’

The blind leading the blind refers to a situation in which an inexperienced, inept, or ignorant person is instructing, advising, or guiding a person who is equally inexperienced, unknowledgeable, or inept. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2McIntosh, Colin. Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Cambridge University Press, 2013.,3Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.


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Examples Of Use

“My dad was always trying to teach me how to fix the car. It was the blind leading the blind.”

“I could help you learn to use your computer but when it comes to programming, it’s the blind leading the blind.”

Blind leading the blind idiom meaning

Origin

This idiom comes from a Bible proverb, Matthew 15:14:

“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

Although we can certainly trace the modern idiom in English to this Bible passage, unusually, the passage itself may have been inspired by an even older text, that of the Upanishads, a series of sacred Hindi treatises written between 800 and 200 BC. Written in Sanskrit, they were translated into English during the 1800s. One of those treatises, the Katha Upanishad, says:

Abiding in the midst of ignorance, thinking themselves wise and learned, fools go aimlessly hither and thither, like blind led by the blind.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. McIntosh, Colin. Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Cambridge University Press, 2013.
3. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.