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 ?
Too far down either path and Paper Tiger would be a different, perhaps less approachable book.
Is Iran a paper tiger when it can move Hezbollah and its master Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, who controls Lebanon 'perforce', whenever and however it feels like it?
Iran is a paper tiger with claws of steel," he said.
HONG KONG ARTS FESTIVAL: Beijing Paper Tiger Theater Studio demands to know why we are fascinated by violence in its play Cool at this year's Hong Kong Arts Festival, but don't expect detached debate--the show, directed by Tian GeBing, features little dialogue.
But this is an illusion; in reality, the bear is a paper tiger.
Another former senior Mossad official, who reportedly served during Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's administration, told Time that "Iran's achievement is creating an image of itself as a scary superpower when it's really a paper tiger.
Maybe not as good as the first four Early Girls releases, there's still some quality stuff on offer here, notably Patty Duke's Don't Just Stand There, Doris Troy's Just One Look ( a hit over here for The Hollies), Sue Thompson's Paper Tiger and the exquisite Broken Hearted Melody by Sarah Vaughn.
WHILE an often authoritarian government has used targets in inappropriate situations creating pressures which are self-defeating, a Climate Change Bill without annual targets will much more likely turn out to be a paper tiger.
The idea of a better coordination is a paper tiger unless accompanied by an EU-wide authority capable of providing both guidance and sanctions," argued UEAPME Director for Economic and Fiscal Policy Gerhard Huemer.
Concerned as it is with recapturing the past--in this case, the narrator's days as a militant Maoist revolutionary for "The Cause" in Paris during the '60s and '70s--Proust is a fitting genius loci for Paper Tiger, though here the tone is not one of celebration, however elegiac, for the power of memory and art, but of dissolution and defeat.
The more expensive lease that MetLife signed when Blackstone took control of Equity's portfolio, was little more than a paper tiger, according to sources familiar with its terms.
The Paper Tiger is unique in that it is not just software, but rather software combined with a proven methodology for personal organization and effective paper management," according to the site, but it also noted that "when you are converting to The Paper Tiger software, an assistant (friend, family, coworker or professional organizer) can make the task faster.
It's a paper tiger unless you test it," Klenke says, so take a what-if approach, "but don't create a disaster to do the test.
Author of the best-selling Kiplinger series, Taming the Paper Tiger, Barbara is working on her next book, Taming the Digital Paper Tiger.
We are really worried the bylaw will become a paper tiger that will not be applicable to cleaning up the city's air," said MEB secretary-general Ahmed Syafrudin.