Ropes of sand - Idioms by The Free Dictionary
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rope of sand
Something that is not as strong or stable as it seems. Yes, you're a fool to trust him, and this allegiance will soon prove to be a rope of sand. I thought I finally had a strong bond with my mother, but it was just a rope of sand—she's left us once again.
a rope of sand used in allusion to something that provides only illusory security or coherence. literary
References in periodicals archive
long ropes of sands
rigid like muscles on the sea's floor, seeded with ghostly pebbles polished like eggs waiting in weedy nests