Definition of paper tiger in English:

paper tiger


  • A person or thing that appears threatening but is ineffectual.

    • ‘We are fond of making decrees, we even specialize in doing it, but a lot of the regulations made by the House of Representatives are only paper tigers.’
    • ‘Italy's inefficient bureaucracy, the lack of the technology required to impose the new legislation, bad planning and underfunding threaten to make the new law yet another paper tiger.’
    • ‘A general thrust of my argument is that the postmodern turn in anthropology threatens to be a paper tiger.’
    • ‘In the event, it turns out that the SEC has imposed no sanction of any material consequence, and is in danger of becoming a paper tiger under new chairman, Harvey Pitt.’
    • ‘All this activity generated little pressure on legislators, making Schwarzenegger look like a possible paper tiger, very popular with the public but not able to generate much pressure to move legislative votes.’


paper tiger