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 ?
The Tahiti door is made of a solid wood door frame with mortise and tenon assembly with a unique reeded center panel.
Also offered are custom turning services, including: finials, table legs, island legs, split turnings, plain fluted and reeded columns.
An inlet measuring about 100 metres by 10 metres under the Bay's M4 access road has been dredged to create a central channel up to two metres deep, which will be flanked by reeded shallows.
reeded with Spanish moss, her daughters play, skinned-knee
Stewart, part of the Something Fishy match group, was on peg 55 which meant he could pole fish at 11 metres to a reeded far shelf where he offered pellet over pellet for carp to 3lb.
Another special feature of the commemorative coins is their uniquely reeded edge; the grouping of the reeds refers to the year Istvn Szchenyi was born in lending context to the third side of the coin.
riva2 Edge Black PSoptions riva2 1050 Edge Black Reeded PS2700 Bourdeux Make a statement with the sleek Bordeaux surround, with its tasteful oyster panels.
Perhaps this revival is most happily symbolised by the familiar design of the General Post Office's standard telephone kiosk with its Soanian dome and reeded door surround (the version known to cognoscenti as the K2).
Having backs with pierced brass galleries and short, reeded side supports to a roundel lobed brass boss, the two were attractive enough to secure pounds 4,250 on the day, but had deceptively low backs and were wide at 22in (55.
That dining room also has an Adam style open fireplace, with two reeded ionic columns and a slate hearth.
4 Payne Street Imports' traditional demilune in acacia solids and veneers has a brass moulded top and reeded apron.
Tiny details too good to overlook are the reeded, cast iron firebacks to many of the fireplaces and the tiny, private telephone room, beautifully finished and with its own courtyard view.
A 1916 PCGS MS66FH Liberty Quarter An 1889-CC NGC MS63 DMPL Morgan Dollar An 1800 PCGS AU53 $10 Capped Bust An 1801 NGC MS61 $10 Capped Bust An 1807 PCGS MS63 $5 Capped Bust An 1865-S PCGS MS65 Brother Jonathan $20 A Humbert 1851 880 PCGS AU50 $50 Reeded Edge A 1911-D PCGS MS63 $2.