What is frail reed?

Updated: 4/28/2022
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11y ago

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Flimsy evidence, weak basis for believing something, i.e., "The prosecution has built its case upon a frail reed." The origin seems to be unknown. The exact phrase doesn't appear in the King James version of The Bible, but there is a similar usage in 2 Kings 18:21:

"Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him."

Bruised, in this context, would mean weak or frail, i.e., a frail reed used as a walking stick would splinter and pierce the user's hand. Some common phrases derived from the Bible and other ancient sources have gradually changed from the original. "Frail reed "may be such a phrase.

I must admit: The case for a biblical origin rests upon a frail reed.

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Q: What is frail reed?
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