(little) tin god

(little) tin god

A pompous person. My attraction for him waned after he spent the entire evening acting like a little tin god. Everyone on the school board acts like a tin god. It's so irritating!
See also: god, tin
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

tin god

A self-important, dictatorial, petty person who imposes ideas, beliefs, and standards on subordinates. For example, The officials in these small towns often act like tin gods. The tin in this expression alludes to the fact that tin is a base metal with relatively little value. [Late 1800s]
See also: god, tin
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a tin god

or

a little tin god

mainly BRITISH, LITERARY
If someone behaves like a tin god or like a little tin god, they behave as if they are much more important and powerful than they really are. So what are his qualifications for acting like a little tin god?
See also: god, tin
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

little tin god

a self-important person.
Tin is implicitly contrasted here with precious metals. The phrase seems to have originated in Rudyard Kipling's Plain Tales from the Hills, where he described idols that he thought were given undeserved veneration: ‘Pleasant it is for the Little Tin Gods When great Jove nods; But Little Tin Gods make their little mistakes In missing the hour when great Jove wakes’.
1987 Fannie Flagg Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe This little tin God in the polyester suit and the three-pound shoes. So smug, so self-important, with the nurses fluttering around him like geisha girls.
See also: god, little, tin
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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