1. something appearing strong or fierce, but in reality being all show and no substance, weak, nothing to be feared.

2. an art book publishing company.
1. most bullies and politicians fall into this category.

2. Paper Tiger brings us such awesome artists as Rodney Matthews.
by M.star June 5, 2004
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a literal English translation of the Chinese phrase zhǐ lǎohǔ (simplified Chinese: 纸老虎; traditional Chinese: 紙老虎), meaning something that seems as threatening as a tiger, but is really harmless.
"All reactionaries are paper tigers." - Mao Zedong
by fettfan91 April 27, 2010
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One who appears tough on the surface but is really a wimp.
He annoys me because constanly brags about being so tough, but at least he can back up his statements, unlike a paper tiger.
by Word of the Day June 8, 2004
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seemingly overwhelming paperwork or paper clutter
I want to tidy up my home, but first I have to tame the paper tiger.
by MamaNette March 8, 2019
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a person who has a lot of power and is a tyrant
stalin was the scary paper tiger from soviet russia.
by pinky87 September 6, 2007
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1. A person who appears knowledgeable on a certain topic, or even has a degree in a certain topic, but actually shows no ability and lacks some of the basic knowledge in said topic.

2. An idea that is still on paper and is having a hard time being made into reality


an idea that sounds amazing on paper but is completely extreme, unrealistic and/or will definitely not work in practice, and also likely hasn't come to fruition.
Worker A: What happened to that guy that was hired last week?
Worker B: He was fired a few days ago. Despite his master's degree, he was completely incompetent in his field. Turns out he was a paper tiger who just plagiarized other people for his degree.
Person A: How's that project coming along?
Person B: It's a bit of a struggle, all I got right now is a paper tiger. I think I've almost figured out what went wrong, though.
The Fontus self-filling water bottle is a a paper tiger that claims that it will fill itself in an hour, but can't possibly do so because of basic thermodynamics.
by AtomHeartFather August 24, 2020
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