What does Not so much mean in the following expressions?

Pete is tall; his brother not so much.

Pete is very tall; his brother not so much.

Does the first one mean?

  1. that Pete's brother is short

  2. that he is average

  3. that he is not tall

How about the second one?

  1. that he is not really tall (maybe a little tall)

  2. that he is not very tall

2 Answers 2


Actually, this is a sassy idiom in the English language that is meant to elicit a giggle. Think of it as a euphemism. The point being made in both cases is that if you had the two people stand next to one another you would laugh and the difference in size. From a factual point of view, all you can know for sure is that Pete is taller to some extent than his brother.


As per the context of a, comparatively his brother is short. As per the context of b, his brother is shorter than Pete.

  • 1
    Pete is (a) taller than average, (b) much taller than average. All that we can deduce about his brother is that he is not as tall as Pete. Feb 11, 2020 at 10:09
  • with much respect, it would be nice if you mention some sources or cite dictionary definitions. Thanks.
    – Fermichem
    Mar 15, 2020 at 0:25

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