a wooden nickel

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a wooden nickel

A person or thing that only vaguely appears to have any real value, but is ultimately worthless. A nickel is worth five cents, thus already being worth very little. Primarily heard in US. This whole accreditation scheme has as much value as a wooden nickel when it does nothing to get you more work in the field.
See also: nickel, wooden

a wooden nickel

AMERICAN
If you call something a wooden nickel, you mean that it is completely false or has no value. Note: A nickel is a five cent coin and a dime is a ten cent coin. He looked at the card as though it were a wooden nickel. `That doesn't prove a thing,' he said.
See also: nickel, wooden