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feet of clay

a weakness or hidden flaw in the character of a greatly admired or respected person:
He was disillusioned to find that even Lincoln had feet of clay.
any unexpected or critical fault.
Origin of feet of clay
1855-60 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for feet of clay
  • Half the apparent geniuses turn out to have feet of clay.
  • The disappointment of finding out that one of your heroes has feet of clay.
  • Without a strong capacity for innovation and creativity, even a giant has feet of clay.
  • If you pardon my language, it's good to know our saint has feet of clay.
  • And even biographers specialise in exposing feet of clay.
  • The population dynamics of human beings with feet of clay are obvious and fully comprehensible.
  • Then all the heroes died, and those that didn't came down with terminal feet of clay.
  • So for all its artistic merit, as a human drama the film retains feet of clay.
  • Savannah keeps falling for dreamboats with feet of clay.
  • But the search for salvation is always riddled with ironies, and the gurus keep turning out to have feet of clay.
feet of clay in Culture

feet of clay definition

People are said to have “feet of clay” if they are revealed to have a weakness or flaw that most people were unaware of: “When the coach was arrested for drunken driving, the students realized that their hero had feet of clay.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with feet of clay

feet of clay

A failing or weakness in a person's character, as in The media are always looking for a popular idol's feet of clay. This expression comes from the Bible (Daniel 2:31–33), where the prophet interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a statue with a head of gold and feet of iron clay. [ c. 1600 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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