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paper tiger

a person, group, nation, or thing that has the appearance of strength or power but is actually weak or ineffectual.
Origin of paper tiger
First recorded in 1945-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for paper tiger

paper tiger

a nation, institution, etc, that appears powerful but is in fact weak or insignificant
Word Origin
C20: translation of a Chinese phrase first applied to the US
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for paper tiger

paper tiger

noun phrase

A menacing person or thing that in fact lacks force; a blusterer: doing battle with a paper tiger when he aims his wrath at the white liberal

[1952+; fr the Chinese expression tsuh lao fu, ''paper tiger,'' given currency by Mao Zedong]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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