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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
Contemporary Examples
  • It is a little  house-of-cards cube whose four sides are lead plates, three inches by three, that each weigh one quarter pound.

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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