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house of cards

a structure or plan that is insubstantial and subject to imminent collapse, as a structure made by balancing playing cards against each other:
The scheme is so overly complicated that it's likely to prove to be just another house of cards.
Origin of house of cards
1900-05 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for house of cards
  • Everything is fine until the scheme runs out of new investors and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.
  • When credit dried up, the whole house of cards collapsed.
  • How poetic, when this house of cards comes smashing down in the end.
  • All their logic is a house of cards that falls when actual observations are introduced.
  • It is impressive that our computers are so accurate-but that accuracy is a house of cards.
  • It is a house of cards that will crash and take all of us with it.
  • So this house of cards has really been building since the sixties.
  • It bases theory upon other theories upon yet more theories, and the whole foundation is a house of cards.
  • But businessmen and some diplomats have for the past two years asked when the house of cards would tumble.
  • One day the money will dry up, and the house of cards will fold.
British Dictionary definitions for house of cards

house of cards

a tiered structure created by balancing playing cards on their edges
an unstable situation, plan, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with house of cards

house of cards

A weak and fragile structure, plan, or organization, as in Her scheme to reorganize the school sounds like another house of cards, or Jerry built his entire business on what turned out to be a house of cards. This metaphoric expression alludes to the structure made by balancing playing cards against one another. [ First half of 1600s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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