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

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

Those who remain flexible and adaptable will be able to survive change, hardship, or adversity more easily than those who try to challenge or stand against it. The CEO doesn't tolerate people who won't go along with his ideas or change to meet his demands. A reed before the wind lives on, at least when you're working at this company. Luckily, I had diversified a lot of my revenue streams before the economic crash hit, so I was able to change tack and withstand the blow better than the large companies that had no room to maneuver. A reed before the wind lives on, while mighty oaks to fall.
See also: before, lives, mighty, oak, reed, while, wind

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

slender reed, a

A weak and unreliable support. This metaphor dates from biblical times, appearing in both Old and New Testaments. In the former, in the books of Isaiah and 2 Kings, it was applied to Egypt, which was variously described as a “broken” or “bruised” reed, not to be trusted if the Assyrians made war on the Hebrews. The term persisted into the mid-twentieth century but is heard less often today.
References in periodicals archive ?
Although they work independently, both researchers hope their findings will improve the lives of woodwind players in several ways: by finding methods to grow better-quality cane for making reeds, by helping musicians identify and preserve good reeds, and by spurring the development of improved substitute materials.
Many amateur players circumvent the fragile-rred syndrome by using sturdy plastic reeds, "but they sound kind of like a duck with laryngitis," says Casadonte.
Casadonte examined the chemical makeup of reeds because he wanted to know why they degrade so quickly.
In 2002, Reed rallied Religious Right leaders to oppose a new casino proposed by the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians in Louisiana.
Reed made the rounds of the Religious Right, posing as an anti-gambling warrior.
Find the most convenient place to purchase Reed products worldwide in the "where to buy" database.
Reed's complete team of Reed Associates, Regional Managers, and Manufacturer's Reps works together to provide excellent service to distributors and tool-users.
This explains why Reed chooses as his detective LaBas (Legba), a mediating figure who presides over the crossroads, for the space he wishes to interrogate is that of the cultural crossroads.
And the length of LaBas's narrative is not the only problem it presents; it is also full of anachronisms, and at times it appears that another voice supplants that of LaBas, which might be attributed to Reed himself but can also be thought of as the mediating voice of a loa.