house of cards

See more synonyms for house of cards on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a structure or plan that is insubstantial and subject to imminent collapse, as a structure made by balancing playing cards against each other: The scheme is so overly complicated that it's likely to prove to be just another house of cards.

Origin of house of cards

First recorded in 1900–05
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for house of cards

Contemporary Examples of house of cards

  • It is a little  house-of-cards cube whose four sides are lead plates, three inches by three, that each weigh one quarter pound.

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    Eighties Art Still Lives

    Blake Gopnik

    May 22, 2012


British Dictionary definitions for house of cards

house of cards

noun
  1. a tiered structure created by balancing playing cards on their edges
  2. an unstable situation, plan, etc
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

Idioms and Phrases with house of cards

house of cards

A weak and fragile structure, plan, or organization, as in Her scheme to reorganize the school sounds like another house of cards, or Jerry built his entire business on what turned out to be a house of cards. This metaphoric expression alludes to the structure made by balancing playing cards against one another. [First half of 1600s]

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