Definition of house of cards in US English:

house of cards

phrase

  • 1A structure built out of playing cards precariously balanced together.

    • ‘They show the transience of childhood through the representation of a house of cards lovingly built by two girls that is just about to be flattened by their boisterous brother as he waves a flag in mock military manner.’
    • ‘The building collapsed like a house of cards burying its residents.’
    • ‘It will fall like a house of cards when the trump of truth is pulled out.’
    • ‘Like a precariously balanced house of cards, the McCartney team collapsed on the eve of a high-profile 2001 launch, due to be held in Trafalgar Square.’
    • ‘When they opened the door, the draft blew over Jan's house of cards.’
    • ‘He likened the relationship to a house of cards: Remove one species or habitat type in the system, and the whole thing comes tumbling down.’
    • ‘Hustvedt is an excellent writer but the structure of the book seems as flimsy as a house of cards, and the resolution at the end highly unsatisfactory.’
    • ‘A false man, a man who did not earn his place where he is, is like a house of cards.’
    • ‘Similarly, our connectedness, our human compact, is sandwiched together like the floors in a house of cards that is easier to knock down than we might think.’
    • ‘Most ranchers deal with this by sticking to traditional practice - recognizing that a mistake would require them to change, and change could topple the whole operation like a house of cards.’
    1. 1.1 An insubstantial or insecure situation or scheme.
      ‘his case was a house of cards until Attorney Jabowski stepped in’
      • ‘As events conspire to topple the rather precarious house of cards that Murdock has built for himself, he comes to realise that he is trapped in an ever-worsening cycle of despair.’
      • ‘These tactics protect the military's house of cards for a while but it collapses the moment the principal actor is removed.’
      • ‘But as the more perceptive economic commentators have noted, the rosy economic statistics and apparent buoyancy of the Australian economy rest on a house of cards.’
      • ‘Her husband was at the top, the head joker in the house of cards.’
      • ‘This is meant not just knock down the conspiracy theorist's house of cards, but also to destroy the notion that possibly, maybe, there could be some unnecessary and compromising complications here.’
      • ‘At that moment, I was grateful that I had squandered all the money I had been underpaid over the years and had nothing in the market, because I knew it was a house of cards.’
      • ‘However to make this house of cards work, the casino has to be pumping out as much money as it can.’
      • ‘But this is a house of cards, built on dreams and delusions, which will topple, not because of a renewal of the husband's past infidelity, but because of the wife's ineradicable distrust.’
      • ‘But the pyramid of evidence-based medicine is not solid-it's a house of cards.’
      • ‘It may be a house of cards or window dressing to those of us who understand security, but the vast majority of the population does not understand security.’