What is the idiom for a guy/situation who/where has his own lacking but still mocks others?

Like you are poor but you laugh at a rich man who has just become bankrupt.

For example, suppose like this "A drainer mocks at a needle".

Explanation: A drainer has hundreds of pores, but he is mocking at needle's only one hole.

  • 4
    A hypocrite.
    – user152004
    Jan 20, 2016 at 15:58
  • I think I understand what you mean, but don't know if your example with a poor-man mocking a rich man who's just became bankrupt is very good... After all, if the rich man used to mock poor-people and bemoan how "poor-people were cuddled by the Government", then the poor-man certainly had reason to mock if the rich-man became poor... not because he was better off than the former rich-man, but because the rich-man now would experience the world from the poor-man's pov. For this, idioms like "bottom rail on top" and "shoe on the other foot" would be apt... (but that's not what you asked abt,) Jan 20, 2016 at 16:54
  • When you added your example you changed your question quite significantly. The example doesn't have any of the downfall of the rich man; it simply mocks someone of lower status.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:09
  • @AndrewLeach, Yes. Coz, I was receiving irrelevant answers.
    – user20865
    Jan 20, 2016 at 22:33

7 Answers 7


Consider, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones

One who is open to criticism should not criticize others. This proverb is so well known that it is often shortened. [Late 1300s ] Also, It's the pot calling the kettle black Random House

  • 7
    "It's the pot calling the kettle black" is the correct one.
    – user20865
    Jan 20, 2016 at 16:07
  • Sorry Elian, I didn't know you already posted it. :-) I deleted my answer and upvoted yours.
    – user140086
    Jan 20, 2016 at 16:41
  • Hey now! You're not allowed to say that anymore. It's a "microaggression." (heavy snark) Jan 20, 2016 at 17:43
  • @Rathony That's okay, Rathony. No big deal. Thanks for the upvote. :-)
    – Elian
    Jan 20, 2016 at 17:52
  • 1

From Bible:

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not consider/notice the beam/log that is in your own eye?

What gave many variants, for example:

to see the twig in somebody else's eye and not pull out the big log in our own eye".

Another one is :

it's the pot calling the kettle black.

Which is an idiom used to claim that a person is guilty of the very thing of which they accuse another.

enter image description here


If it were a rich man laughing at a newly-made bankrupt, it would simply be spiteful, but the usual word for seeing someone brought down (especially to one's own level) is schadenfreude.

Pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune:
a business that thrives on Schadenfreude
a frisson of Schadenfreude


It's borrowed directly from German, derived from Schade (harm or shame) and freude (joy).


You might say that this person is suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which relatively unskilled persons suffer illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than it really is.

The "see also" section of that Wikipedia page also contains some terms that might apply:


I think that the idiom you are looking for is the pot calling the kettle black.

I think wikipedia defines it well:

The phrase "The pot calling the kettle black" is an idiom used to claim that a person is guilty of the very thing of which they accuse another.


I think this fits well with the psychological interpretation of


Psychological projection, also known as blame shifting, is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unpleasant impulses by denying their existence while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.


Pot calling the kettle silver gets rid of any questionable meanings.

or go the Chandler from Friends way and just say "pot, meet kettle"

Related: what's good for the goose, is good for the gander

  • 1
    Is there a questionable meaning in a pot or a kettle being black? Jan 20, 2016 at 20:34
  • 4
    But :S Neither pots nor kettles are necessarily silver, whereas they are both liable to go black when you light a fire under them and use them for their intended purpose. Moreover, silver pots and kettles are shiny and new. Either of them being silver is a good thing. Black pots and kettles are dirty and worn. Therefore it is a shortcoming in the pot or the kettle to be black, but not silver. This, this makes no sense -1
    – Au101
    Jan 20, 2016 at 23:39
  • Of all the pots and kettles I have, they are silver colored, don't think I've ever had a black one. Stainless steel I guess. Some have copper base. Have some black pans Feb 22, 2016 at 15:33

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