broken 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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Trainer Tom George enhanced his fine record on the course by landing a double with Broken Reed, who took the extended three-mile intermediate hurdle in the hands of Jason Maguire, and Burwood Breeze, who scored easily under Paddy Brennan in the three-mile handicap chase.
With the University of Wales - truly, a broken reed in this field - heading for break-up, this looks truly like a topic for Assembly action.
TODAY'S SARABAND SELECTIONS HUNTINGDON: 12.30 Precious Mystery, 1.00 Harringay, 1.30 Sea The Light, 2.00 Broken Reed, 2.30 Our Joycey, 3.00 Gipsy Cricketer, 3.30 Ashwell Lad.
Jodante provided Richard Guest and John Flavin with a double, following the earlier success of Red Perk, when getting up to deny Classic Rock by a neck in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase, while Broken Reed made a winning debut in Britain after being left clear two out in the maiden hurdle when Mungo Jerry unseated jockey Tom Messenger.
By the spring of 1963 I was a broken reed. I was still struggling to gain an O Level in maths that I had first failed in 1959, and without which, I was told, I belonged on the scrapheap.
PERTH: 2.05 Broken Reed, 2.35 Iron Man, 3.05 Talarive, 3.40 Planters Punch, 4.15 Interdit, 4.45 Telemoss, 5.15 Bleu Pois.
It is set against a foreground of profound darkness in a black horizontal form of silicone rubber with oversized verticles akin to the oversized pile of carpet or broken reeds. Disposition is a word with multiple associations: it may signify a person's inherent qualities, the way in which something is placed or arranged, especially in relation to other things' physical property or in legal terms, an act of bestowal or transfer.
"I am advising you to never let the MQM become a self-serving party," said he adding,"The MQM needs 'men of deeds' and not 'showmanning' broken reeds."
"In his oral evidence he also accepted that on occasions he may have been perceived to be not playing well, which was a difficulty which he believed to stem from the use of some broken reeds."