slender reed, a(redirected from a slender 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.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer