house of cards

noun
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:
1900–05

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
house of cards
 
n
1.  a tiered structure created by balancing playing cards on their edges
2.  an unstable situation, plan, etc

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

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® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
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.
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