Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms, Wikipedia.
One that is seemingly dangerous and powerful but is in fact timid and weak.
[Translation of Chinese (Mandarin) zhǐlǎohǔ : zhǐ, paper + lǎohǔ, tiger.]
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]
a person, nation, etc., that has the appearance of power but is actually weak and ineffectual.
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||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"|