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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
a nation, institution, etc, that appears powerful but is in fact weak or insignificant
Word Origin for paper tiger
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