a poor relation

poor relation

A less desirable substitute for the genuine item. The cheap motorcycle jacket I bought is nice, but it is a poor relation of actual leather.
See also: poor, relation

a poor relation

If you describe one thing as a poor relation of another, you mean that it is similar in some ways but not as good or as popular. Watercolour still seems somehow to be the poor relation of oil painting. Grapes for the table have become the poor relation of those used by the wine trade.
See also: poor, relation

a poor reˈlation

somebody/something with less importance, respect or power than others: At the peace conference, our country was treated very much as the poor relation.
See also: poor, relation
References in classic literature ?
What the nature of his claim on her might be seemed less intelligible -- unless it was the claim of a poor relation.