paper tiger

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paper tiger

n.
One that is seemingly dangerous and powerful but is in fact timid and weak.

[Translation of Chinese (Mandarin) zhǐlǎohǔ : zhǐ, paper + lǎohǔ, tiger.]

paper tiger

n
a nation, institution, etc, that appears powerful but is in fact weak or insignificant
[C20: translation of a Chinese phrase first applied to the US]

pa′per ti′ger


n.
a person, nation, etc., that has the appearance of power but is actually weak and ineffectual.
[1945–50]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.paper tiger - the nature of a person or organization that appears powerful but is actually powerless and ineffectual; "he reminded Mao that the paper tiger had nuclear teeth"
impotence, impotency, powerlessness - the quality of lacking strength or power; being weak and feeble
Translations
paperitiikeri

paper tiger

ntigre f di carta
References in periodicals archive ?
This examination forms the bedrock of Fenton's refutation of the paper tiger thesis.