a house of cards

house of cards

A plan, organization, or other entity that is destined to fail due to a weak structure or foundation (likened to a literal house of cards, which is built by balancing playing cards against one another, and is very easily toppled). Greg decided against investing in the new technology company because he got the feeling that it was a house of cards. So your plan is to just cram and miraculously get good grades on all of your exams? That sounds like a real house of cards to me!
See also: card, house, of

a house of cards

COMMON If you describe a system, organization, or plan as a house of cards, you mean that it is likely to fail or collapse. This government could fall apart like a house of cards during the first policy discussion. When he left the company, the whole house of cards collapsed. She knows that the cosy family relationships of the past were a house of cards, based on unstable foundations. Note: This refers to the building of an elaborate but unstable pyramid structure using playing cards.
See also: card, house, of

a house of cards

an insecure or over-ambitious scheme.
Literally, a house of cards is a structure of playing cards balanced together.
1992 New York Times Book Review Integrated Resources later proved to be a house of cards, costing Drexel customers many millions when it collapsed.
See also: card, house, of

a ˌhouse of ˈcards

a plan, an organization, etc., that is so badly arranged that it could easily fail: His plans collapsed like a house of cards when he was told he hadn’t won the scholarship.
See also: card, house, of