paper tiger

See more synonyms for paper tiger on Thesaurus.com

Origin of paper tiger

First recorded in 1945–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for paper tiger

paper tiger

noun
  1. 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