broken reed


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broken reed

an unreliable or undependable person. (On the image of a useless, broken reed in a reed instrument.) You can't rely on Jim's support. He's a broken reed. Mr. Smith is a broken reed. His deputy has to make all the decisions.
See also: broken, reed

broken reed

A weak or unreliable support, as in I'd counted on her to help, but she turned out to be a broken reed. The idea behind this idiom, first recorded about 1593, was already present in a mid-15th-century translation of a Latin tract, "Trust not nor lean not upon a windy reed."
See also: broken, reed
References in periodicals archive ?
A broken reed in the political backwaters, CCFC MP meets a bewildering array of characters promising instant political success: Swedish insurance salesmen; Birmingham seat sellers; sweary scousers and even Young Asian Businessmen of the Year.
BETTING: 5-1 Bubble Boy, 6-1 College Ace, 7-1 Red Echo, Waynesworld, 8-1 Broken Reed, 10-1 On The Outside, Liverpool Echo, Lord Anner, 12-1 others.
Broken Reed was a useful point-to-pointer in Ireland, and has won both his novice hurdles since joining Tom George.
Trainer Tom George enhanced his fine record on the course by landing a double with Broken Reed, who took the extended three-mile intermediate hurdle in the hands of Jason Maguire, and Burwood Breeze, who scored easily under Paddy Brennan in the three-mile handicap chase.
With the University of Wales - truly, a broken reed in this field - heading for break-up, this looks truly like a topic for Assembly action.
Jodante provided Richard Guest and John Flavin with a double, following the earlier success of Red Perk, when getting up to deny Classic Rock by a neck in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase, while Broken Reed made a winning debut in Britain after being left clear two out in the maiden hurdle when Mungo Jerry unseated jockey Tom Messenger.
I am advising you to never let the MQM become a self-serving party," said he adding,"The MQM needs 'men of deeds' and not 'showmanning' broken reeds.