reed


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a broken reed

An unreliable or unsupportive person. I thought I could count on my best friend for support during this difficult time, but she proved to be a broken reed and never returned my calls.
See also: broken, reed

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

reed before the wind lives on, while mighty oaks do fall

Prov. An insignificant, flexible person is more likely not to get hurt in a crisis than a prominent or rigid person. Our office has new managers now; I plan to be as inconspicuous as possible while they reorganize everyone. A reed before the wind lives on, while mighty oaks do fall.

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

a broken reed

BRITISH, LITERARY
If you call a person or group a broken reed, you mean that they are now weak and hopeless, and do not have the power or influence that they had in the past. They recognized that their allies were a broken reed.
See also: broken, reed

a broken reed

a weak or ineffectual person, especially one on whose support it is foolish to rely.
This expression refers to Isaiah 36:6, in which the Assyrian general taunts King Hezekiah of Jerusalem about the latter's supposed ally, the Egyptian pharaoh: ‘Lo, thou trusteth in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt’.
See also: broken, reed
References in periodicals archive ?
After a short and largely unsuccessful stint with Capitol Records, Reed abandoned California for South America, where, inexplicably, his singles were outselling those of Elvis Presley.
Reed also said that the purchase will accelerate RBI's online editorial and marketing growth across numerous industry sectors, while BuyerZone will benefit from RBI's portfolio of web sites, magazines and e-mail marketing businesses.
During his tenure, Reed built the organization into the nation's most prominent Religious Right group.
Reed stood no more than 30 feet a way, between the mound and the plate.
Abramoff, Scanlon and Reed employed this strategy in several successful campaigns against existing or proposed gambling operations that threatened the interests of the Louisiana Coushatta and other tribal clients.
It joins a Reed Chinese catalog, also on the Reed website.
Given the current state of the markets, Reed has reduced the company's reliance on stocks and corporate bonds in favor of less conventional and riskier alternatives such as junk bonds, emerging markets, real estate investment trusts and the slick science of arbitrage.
Using an automated system, Reed and his colleagues screened more than a million compounds for substances that thwart XIAP's inhibition of a particular caspase called caspase 3.
Despite some glaring absences, Reed makes a significant contribution to efforts to document the cultural diversity of a century of poetry in these United States.
Still, Reed agrees that Poe's privacy about his sexuality--and almost everything else--has perennially triggered heated debate.
As previous Reed criticism has noted, it is the detective's, and by extension Western science's, adherence to ratiocination that Reed wishes to call into question.
Chatter" caused by binding and hesitation of the extrudate as it passes through the calibrator has been by far the most difficult problem to solve in high-output profile extrusion, Reed notes.
But it was more than this peculiar coincidence that brought Reed to mind.
Dodgers manager Grady Little fought gallantly with both Reed and Guccione.
Thanks to right-wing political operative Ralph Reed, Dobson was rolled like a pair of Las Vegas dice--all on behalf of an Indian casino.