the sick man of (something or somewhere)

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the sick man of (something or somewhere)

Something or some place that is particularly unsound, untenable, or doomed to fail, especially among or in comparison to its peers. Due in large part to several tumultuous years of indecision in its parliament, Greece has been the sick man of Europe since the global recession began. The banking giant, which once propped up the entire country, has now become the sick man of the economy in recent years.
See also: man, of, sick
References in classic literature ?
And thus he continued on, while my colour came and went several times, with indignation, to hear our noble country, the mistress of arts and arms, the scourge of France, the arbitress of Europe, the seat of virtue, piety, honour, and truth, the pride and envy of the world, so contemptuously treated.
This was as early as the Fall of 1877, and was thus the first long-distance line in Europe.
The provinces of Holland, till they were overwhelmed in debts and taxes, took a leading and conspicuous part in the wars of Europe.
In the first place, you know, I am traveling in Europe on funds supplied by my congregation, who kindly offered me a vacation and an opportunity to enrich my mind with the treasures of nature and art in the Old World.
I always have my answer ready; "For general culture, to acquire the languages, and to see Europe for myself;" and that generally seems to satisfy them.
Deep down in my heart the whole thing seemed more like a dream than like reality, and for a long time it was difficult for me to make myself believe that I was actually going to Europe.
Scholars from all parts of Europe came to visit the Northumbrian monasteries, or sent thither for teachers.
The England I refer to was an island off the continent of Europe.
Most marine animals have a wide range; and we have seen that with plants it is those which have the widest range, that oftenest present varieties; so that with shells and other marine animals, it is probably those which have had the widest range, far exceeding the limits of the known geological formations of Europe, which have oftenest given rise, first to local varieties and ultimately to new species; and this again would greatly lessen the chance of our being able to trace the stages of transition in any one geological formation.
It is probable that the picturesque beauty of many parts of Europe exceeds anything which we beheld.
In the ninth and tenth centuries they mercilessly ravaged all the coasts not only of the West but of all Europe from the Rhine to the Adriatic.
Europe shows the white feather, England knuckles under, general peace all round, and kings and peoples pretending to embrace each other.
But doubter, I'm now calling it In question: with this do I come indeed Out of Europe, That doubt'th more eagerly than doth any Elderly married woman.
Old Sedley once or twice came home with a very grave face; and no wonder, when such news as this was agitating all the hearts and all the Stocks of Europe.
Rent there may be in Europe, where land has been improved by the labor put into it, but with us all the land is deteriorating from the labor put into it--in other words they're working it out; so there's no question of rent.