I'm looking for a word or phrase that describes the effect of when someone is over-hyped, and when they don't meet expectations, they're criticised much harsher than they would have been if they weren't over-hyped. I hope this makes sense

  • A fall from grace? A milkshake duck?
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 2, 2017 at 22:35
  • A related term, used when someone has been represented as being more dangerous or powerful than they are later found out to actually be is "paper tiger."
    – Shosht
    Oct 3, 2017 at 4:09
  • That seems like a huge range of possibilities. Could you narrow it down a lot with at least two example sentences? Oct 3, 2017 at 23:35

2 Answers 2


Feet of clay is an expression now commonly used to refer to a weakness or character flaw, especially in people of prominence.


feet of clay (cf. Dan. ii. 33 ‘his feet part of iron and part of clay’): a fundamental weakness in someone supposedly of great merit.

OED-3 - (Subscription required)

  • I think Nigel's feet of clay is about as close as will be possible… Oct 4, 2017 at 23:14

An underachiever or disappointment.

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