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  1. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    #1

    tempest in a test tube / tempest in a tea pot

    The cynic may say that commercial pornography makes the same claim; the learned may counter by asserting that “H.H.”‘s impassioned confession is a tempest in a test tube; that at least 12% of American adult males a “conservative” estimate according to Dr. Blanche Schwarzmann (verbal communication)enjoy yearly, in one way or another, the special experience “H.H.” describes with such despare; that had our demented diarist gone, in the fatal summer of 1947, to a competent psycho-pathologist, there would have been no disaster; but then, neither would there have been this book.
    From Nabokov's Lolita. Is "tempest in a test tube" related to the expression "a tempest in a tea pot"? The latter makes sense here, but why does he use "test tube"? I have seen this expression online in the context of science, and it seems to be a variation on the expression with "tea pot".

    Thank you in advance.

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    #2

    Re: tempest in a test tube / tempest in a tea pot

    "Tempest in a test tube" is not a common expression. Perhaps the author chose the word "test tube" because he was discussing science. He's making a play on the common expression "tempest in a teapot."

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: tempest in a test tube / tempest in a tea pot

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    "Tempest in a test tube" is not a common expression. Perhaps the author chose the word "test tube" because he was discussing science. He's making a play on the common expression "tempest in a teapot."
    I'm not familiar with "tempest in a teapot". The expression I know is "storm in a teacup".

  3. Amigos4's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: tempest in a test tube / tempest in a tea pot

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I'm not familiar with "tempest in a teapot". The expression I know is "storm in a teacup".
    Tempest in a teapot (American English), or storm in a teacup (British English), is an idiom meaning a small event that has been exaggerated out of proportion. There are also lesser known or earlier variants, such as tempest in a teacup, storm in a cream bowl, tempest in a glass of water, storm in a wash-hand basin, and storm in a glass of water.
    Tempest in a teapot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: tempest in a test tube / tempest in a tea pot

    I would certainly assume that the writer replaced "teapot" with "test tube" specifically because the subject matter was science.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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