Blind Leading the Blind – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you watching an inexperienced person speak with authority to others? You could say they are the ‘blind leading the blind.’ This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The expression ‘the blind leading the blind’ means someone incompetent or inexperienced leading other people who are also incapable. The phrase can refer to uniformed people acting as an authority without the qualifications and experience needed to position them as leaders.

The ‘blind leading the blind’ means that the leader will cause the group or person to fail due to their lack of experience. The use of ‘blind’ in the expression refers to being inexperienced, incompetent, or uninformed.

Example Usage

“Look at those muppets over there hanging on his every word. It’s like watching the blind leading the blind. They’ll never get anywhere with anything.”

“Why are you listening to Ray’s advice on your marriage? He’s divorced twice already. That’s like the blind leading the blind.”

“There’s no reason for you to follow John’s sales advice. He’s the worst performer on the team. Listening to him as a new guy is like the blind leading the blind.”

“Reggie has the worst batting average in the game, and he’s out there advising the newbies. It’s like watching the blind leading the blind.”

“I don’t know why you’re asking me about fitness tips. Can’t you see I’m overweight? Listening to me talk about health is like the blind leading the blind.”

“I know you think you know what you’re talking about, but your ignorance is amazing. You can’t teach anyone the principles; it’s like the blind leading the blind.”

“Did you watch Jim Cramer’s show last night? That guy is totally clueless. The people that follow him must feel like the blind leading the blind.”

“It’s like watching the blind leading the blind. This is hilarious. Wait until they all fall flat on their faces.”

Origin

The expression ‘blind leading the blind’ originates from the Holy Bible. The proverbial saying appears in the Book of Matthew, verse 15:14 in the Miles Coverdale Edition, published in 1535. The phrase appears in archaic English as follows.

“Let they go, they are ye blynde leaders of ye blynde. Wha one blinde leadeth another, they fall both I ye diche.”

While language experts believe this to be the origin of the expression, others state it originates from the ‘Upanishads,’ sacred Hindu treatises written between 800 BC and 200 BC. The text was translated into English between 1816 to 1819. The translated verses appear as follows.

“Abiding amid ignorance, thinking themselves wise and learned, fools go aimlessly hither and thither, like blind led by the blind.”

Phrases Similar to Blind Leading the Blind

  • Know as much about something as a hog knows about Sunday.
  • All students, no teachers.
  • The helpless being led by the clueless.
  • Sheeple.

Phrases Opposite to Blind Leading the Blind

  • An experienced mentor.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Blind leading the blind

Ways People May Say Blind Leading the Blind Incorrectly

The phrase has nothing to do with blind people. The word ‘blind’ in this expression refers to someone inexperienced or unqualified. People may follow the person due to being inexperienced themselves and ignorant of the data they need to make a decision or complete a task themselves.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Blind Leading the Blind

You can use the expression ‘the bling leading the blind’ when referring to people blindly following other incompetent people. The phrase suits professional and social use. You could say that an inexperienced salesperson trying to help other team members close a deal is like watching the blind leading the blind.

Or you could say your friend blindly following someone’s relationship advice, despite being a divorcee, is like the bling leading the blind. The expression suits text-based communications and verbal exchanges. If someone is blindly following others, it means they don’t have any experience in their social life, career, or spirituality.

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