A weak or unreliable support, as in I'd counted on her to help, but she turned out to be a broken reed. The idea behind this idiom, first recorded about 1593, was already present in a mid-15th-century translation of a Latin tract, “Trust not nor lean not upon a windy reed.”
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How to use broken reed in a sentence
“We quietly did,” Reed previously told The Daily Beast of removing ISIS.‘Archer’ Creator Adam Reed Spills Season 6 Secrets, From Surreal Plotlines to Life Post-ISIS|Marlow Stern|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
His first language was Russian, then he learned Swedish, but chooses to perform in monosyllabic broken English.The Cult of Yung Lean: ‘I’m Building An Anarchistic Society From the Ground Up’|Marlow Stern|January 4, 2015|DAILY BEAST
He gets up and goes over to their table and introduces himself, and he says, ‘Hello, I’m Oliver Reed.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile|Robert Ward|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
His surprise marriage to theater director Sophie Hunter may have broken hearts, but the squeals of delight were even louder.All Your Internet Boyfriends Are Taken: Gosling, Cumberbatch, and now Joseph Gordon-Levitt|Melissa Leon|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
A grand jury investigated but found Foster had broken no law.
In less than ten minutes, the bivouac was broken up, and our little army on the march.
On May 13 Polavieja arrived in Barcelona physically broken, half blind, and with evident traces of a disordered liver.The Philippine Islands|John Foreman
Do you want the marriage of your daughter with the rich and Honourable Harry broken?The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol|William J. Locke
Broken crocks should be strewn upon the tray, and on to this is heaped peaty soil mixed with sand.How to Know the Ferns|S. Leonard Bastin
But I am afraid you would very soon get tired of us, and I ought to tell you, frankly, that our little home is to be—a broken up.Confidence|Henry James