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a person, group, nation, or thing that has the appearance of strength or power but is actually weak or ineffectual.
a nation, institution, etc, that appears powerful but is in fact weak or insignificant

noun phrase

A menacing person or thing that in fact lacks force; a blusterer: doing battle with a paper tiger when he aims his wrath at the white liberal

[1952+; fr the Chinese expression tsuh lao fu, ”paper tiger,” given currency by Mao Zedong]


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  • Paper-train

    [pey-per-treyn] /ˈpeɪ pərˌtreɪn/ verb (used with object) 1. to train (a pet) to defecate or urinate on sheets of disposable paper.

  • Paper-wasp

    noun 1. any of several social wasps, as the yellow jacket or hornet, that construct a nest of a paperlike substance consisting of chewed plant material.

  • Paperweight

    [pey-per-weyt] /ˈpeɪ pərˌweɪt/ noun 1. a small, heavy object of glass, metal, etc., placed on to keep them from scattering. /ˈpeɪpəˌweɪt/ noun 1. a small heavy object placed on loose papers to prevent them from scattering

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