the sick man of (something or somewhere)

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the sick man of (something or somewhere)

Something or some place that is particularly unsound, untenable, or doomed to fail, especially among or in comparison to its peers. Due in large part to several tumultuous years of indecision in its parliament, Greece has been the sick man of Europe since the global recession began. The banking giant, which once propped up the entire country, has now become the sick man of the economy in recent years.
See also: man, of, sick

the sick man of —

a country that is politically or economically unsound, especially in comparison with its neighbours in the region specified.
In the late 19th century, following a reported comment by Tsar Nicholas I of Russia about the moribund state of the Turkish empire, the Sultan of Turkey was described as the Sick Man of Europe . The term was later extended to Turkey itself and subsequently applied to other countries.
1992 Independent He vilified the West as ‘the sick man of the modern world’ and attacked its institutions as ‘the dictatorship of the majority dressed up as democracy’.
See also: man, of, sick
References in classic literature ?
We continually forget how large the world is, compared with the area over which our geological formations have been carefully examined; we forget that groups of species may elsewhere have long existed and have slowly multiplied before they invaded the ancient archipelagoes of Europe and of the United States.
Cuvier used to urge that no monkey occurred in any tertiary stratum; but now extinct species have been discovered in India, South America, and in Europe even as far back as the eocene stage.
Deep down in my heart the whole thing seemed more like a dream than like reality, and for a long time it was difficult for me to make myself believe that I was actually going to Europe. I had been born and largely reared in the lowest depths of slavery, ignorance, and poverty.
Washington and I were going to Europe might not know all the circumstances, and might get the idea that we had become, as some might say, "stuck up," and were trying to "show off." I recalled that from my youth I had heard it said that too often, when people of my race reached any degree of success, they were inclined to unduly exalt themselves; to try and ape the wealthy, and in so doing to lose their heads.
This was as early as the Fall of 1877, and was thus the first long-distance line in Europe.
By this step Russia has unexpectedly swept to the front and is now, to telephone men, the freest country in Europe.
It was remarked, on a former occasion, that the want of this pretext had saved the liberties of one nation in Europe. Being rendered by her insular situation and her maritime resources impregnable to the armies of her neighbors, the rulers of Great Britain have never been able, by real or artificial dangers, to cheat the public into an extensive peace establishment.
Either America is healthier than Europe, notwithstanding her "deadly" indulgence in ice-water, or she does not keep the run of her death-rate as sharply as Europe does.
But nevertheless in his secret soul he detested Europe, and he felt an irritating need to protest against Newman's gross intellectual hospitality.
But the touchstone of the New Learning was the knowledge of Greek, which had been to the greater part of Europe a lost tongue.
"Among the books and papers of Admiral Porter Turck, who lived two hundred years ago, and from whom I am descended, many volumes still exist, and are in my possession, which deal with the history and geography of ancient Europe. Usually I bring several of these books with me upon a cruise, and this time, among others, I have maps of Europe and her surrounding waters.
"That question is now absorbing the best minds in Europe. The Schulze-Delitsch movement....
Nay, it is far more probable that in America, as in Europe, neighboring nations, acting under the impulse of opposite interests and unfriendly passions, would frequently be found taking different sides.
I didn't come to Europe to lead a merely conventional life; I could do that at Bangor.
It is probable that the picturesque beauty of many parts of Europe exceeds anything which we beheld.