empty suit

An unimportant person; also, a phony. For example, Don't pay any attention to him—he's just an empty suit, or She acts as though she knows what she's doing, but she's really an empty suit. This graphic expression calls up the image of an empty suit of clothes. [c. 1970]


Nearby words

  1. empty cow,
  2. empty morph,
  3. empty nest,
  4. empty nester,
  5. empty set,
  6. empty word,
  7. empty-handed,
  8. empty-headed,
  9. empty-nest syndrome,
  10. empty-nester

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.