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House of cards   /haʊs əv kɑrdz/   Listen
House of cards

A speculative scheme that depends on unstable factors that the planner cannot control.  Synonym: bubble.  "A real estate bubble"
An unstable construction with playing cards.  Synonyms: card-house, cardcastle, cardhouse.

WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University

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"House of cards" Quotes from Famous Books

... her life. She had felt as she had looked: almost a girl, with music on her lips and joyous things in her heart, nursing that wonderful gift to her sex,—the hopeless optimism begotten of love. And her little house of cards had tumbled so quickly to the ground, the little denouement on which she had counted had fallen so flat. They two were there alone. The little dinner which she had planned was as near perfection as possible. The champagne bubbled in their glasses. ...
— Nobody's Man • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... on the wrong track altogether in my interpretation of what I was pleased to term in my mind the message from Francis. If I had read it falsely—if, perhaps, it were not from him at all—then all the hopes I had built on this mad dash into the enemy's country would collapse like a house of cards. Then, indeed, I should be in a ...
— The Man with the Clubfoot • Valentine Williams

... house of cards fell about him. 'You lie, Gustave! And Germany? Selpdorf, we hold your promises! It is impossible to ...
— A Modern Mercenary • Kate Prichard and Hesketh Vernon Hesketh-Prichard

... rather a house of cards. A word from me to George—just the right word, said in the right ...
— Getting Married • George Bernard Shaw

... gave the affair large attention, and the net results were surprisingly fine. The house of cards so lovingly built up by Livingstone and his friends tumbled in a morning never to rise again. All the little plans failed like kites snipped of their tails. Fritters went home, because the public lost interest in his lectures. The book of the escaped nun fell flat and disappeared ...
— The Art of Disappearing • John Talbot Smith

... partly paid for falls so much that the owner is forced to default in his payment, the loss may be transmitted along the line of credit to every one in a long series of transactions. A credit system, highly developed, is a house of cards at a time of financial stress. Demand liabilities are at such a time the greatest danger, so that the banks, ordinarily the pillars of financial strength, become at such a time the points of greatest weakness in the financial situation. If many of the customers were not restrained ...
— Modern Economic Problems - Economics Vol. II • Frank Albert Fetter

... whole structure of her existence crumbled into nothingness like a house of cards. He was beautiful—she gasped—she knew no more. Then, in a flash, a thousand mysteries were revealed to her; the past, the present, rushed upon her with a new significance; the delusions of years were abolished, and an extraordinary, an irresistible certitude leapt ...
— Queen Victoria • Lytton Strachey

... one which unavoidably takes up its abode in the heart, and waits to come forth and be present one day on the lips, at the time when Satiety gives the last kick to the last house of cards erected ...
— The Grip of Desire • Hector France

... "It's like a house of cards," said Broderick, who had been a fireman in New York. "Lord help us if it ever starts to burn. Even our drinking water comes ...
— Port O' Gold • Louis John Stellman

... the thick smoke and carried both Hodge and Merriwell to a place of security. And even as they did so the tottering side wall, that had so long been swaying, fell, and the shell of the burning hotel collapsed like a house of cards. ...
— Frank Merriwell's Reward • Burt L. Standish

... the greatest settlement of the Celestials on this continent, went down like a house of cards. When the earthquake had passed this den of squalor and infamy was no more. The Chinese theatres and joss-houses tumbled into ruins, rookery after rookery collapsed, and hundreds of their inhabitants ...
— The San Francisco Calamity • Various

... dissatisfied minority, nearly as numerous and quite as obstinate as the majority, always refuses to be bound by it. No sooner does some sapient librarian, with the sublime confidence of conviction, get his classification house of cards constructed to his mind, and stands rapt in admiration before it, when there comes along some wise man of the east, and demolishes the fair edifice at a blow, while the architect stands by with a melancholy smile, and sees all his household gods ...
— A Book for All Readers • Ainsworth Rand Spofford

Words linked to "House of cards" :   cardcastle, construction, structure, strategy, card-house, scheme, bubble, cardhouse

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