Dictionary.com

paper tiger

Save This Word!

noun

a person, group, nation, or thing that has the appearance of strength or power but is actually weak or ineffectual.

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON “THEIR,” “THERE,” AND “THEY’RE”

Are you aware how often people swap around “their,” “there,” and “they’re”? Prove you have more than a fair grasp over these commonly confused words.
Question 1 of 7
Which one of these commonly confused words can act as an adverb or a pronoun?

Origin of paper tiger

First recorded in 1945–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for paper tiger

British Dictionary definitions for paper tiger

paper tiger

noun

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
Book Your Online Tutor Now