a broken reed
a weak or ineffectual person especially one on whose support it is foolish to rely
This expression refers to Isaiah 36 : 6 in which the Assyrian general taunts King Hezekiah of Jerusalem about the latter's supposed ally, the Egyptian pharaoh : 'Lo, thou trusteth in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt'.
Related Idioms and Phrases :
go for broke
risk everything in an all-out effort – informal
on the broo
claiming unemployment benefit - Scottish informal
Broo, also spelt buroo, is a colloquial alteration of bureau, meaning a labour exchange or social security office.
a broken reed :
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