paper tiger


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paper tiger

A nation or organization that gives the impression that it is threatening or powerful when, in reality, is not. Many people see North Korea as nothing more than a paper tiger, despite its threats against other countries. The new management team tries to command respect through lots of blustery speeches, but all of us workers just see it as a paper tiger.
See also: paper, tiger

a paper tiger

If you describe a person, country, or organization as a paper tiger, you mean that although they seem to be powerful, they do not really have any power. Unless the assembly has the power to fire the mayor, it will prove to be nothing but a paper tiger. She had shown the country to be a paper tiger, incapable of defending its territories. Note: This is an old Chinese expression which Chairman Mao applied to the United States in the 1950s.
See also: paper, tiger

a paper tiger

an apparently dangerous but actually ineffectual person or thing.
This expression became well known in the West from its use by Mao Zedong, the Chinese Communist leader. In an interview in 1946 , he expressed the view that ‘all reactionaries are paper tigers’.
1998 Oldie We fear that the Rail Regulator and the Consultative Committee are paper tigers and a waste of time.
See also: paper, tiger

a ˌpaper ˈtiger

a person or thing that is less strong, powerful, dangerous, etc. than they/it appears: He claimed that the enemies of his party were paper tigers and not to be feared.This is a translation of a Chinese expression that became well known when it was used by Mao Zedong.
See also: paper, tiger

paper tiger

Something that appears dangerous but is not. The phrase comes from a Chinese expression that means what it does in English—something or someone that is all bark but no bite. The phrase is often used in international diplomacy to describe a nation that makes threats but is unlikely to back them up with action.
See also: paper, tiger
References in periodicals archive ?
The 2014 edition of Paper Tiger is a revised and fully reformatted edition of a book first published in the Netherlands in 2010.
Paper Tiger: I got into hip-hop through skateboarding.
Yet Prince Turki al-Faisal, former head of the Saudi intelligence and ambassador to the UK and US, describes Iran as "a paper tiger with claws of steel".
1989 Mark Pearson, Paper Tiger, New Zealand's Part in SEATO 1954-1977, 135pp
WHAT we are witnessing is nothing less than what happens when the whole edifice of law and order is exposed as a Paper Tiger!
Prague, Czech Republic) concludes that EU counterterrorism policy is more of a paper tiger than an effective counterterrorism instrument.
General Staff replied via internet to Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy chairman Suheyl Batum's remarks comparing the army to a "paper tiger".
Ruling that Google has broken the law but then taking no action against it shows the commissioner to be a paper tiger."
Nicknamed "The Paper Tiger Lady," Barbara is the author of several books, including Kiplinger's bestselling "Taming the Paper Tiger," book series.
EUROPE will become a military "paper tiger" unless its nations beef up their defence spending, the head of NATO said yesterday.
As such, America's ICBM force will need "calibrating" to ensure that our deterrent is not a paper tiger and can effectively deter potential aggressor nations that range from nonstate actors to reemerging superpowers.
He warned that if the Nato alliance walked away from the war it could be seen as a paper tiger, so undermining its future alliances and leave it exposed and weakened.
It's unlikely you will be able to strip the wallpaper without some damage to the drywall, but damage can be minimized by using a wallpaper scoring tool, such as the Paper Tiger, from a home center or wallpaper-supply store.
His later films included "The Call of the Wild," starring Charlton Heston, "Paper Tiger" with David Niven, and "The Fifth Musketeer." His last film was "The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking," in 1988.
I disagree with Prince Turki Al-Faisal Bin Abdul-Aziz, the former head of the Saudi general intelligence services and former ambassador to the United States and England, who described Iran, in a lecture in a Jordanian university, as a 'paper tiger with steel claws' and said that its political regime and leadership is weak and fragile.