(also the emperor has no clothes)
Used in reference to a situation in which people believe or pretend to believe in the worth or importance of something that is worthless, or fear to point out an obvious truth that is counter to prevailing opinion: is his white canvas a case of the emperor’s new clothes or is it something beautiful, even moving? this is the first time that anyone has stripped his work of its rhetoric and shown that this particular emperor has no clothes
[after the title of the story Kejserens nye klæder (1837) by the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen (first translated into English as The Emperor's New Clothes in 1846), in which an emperor is tricked into thinking he is wearing beautiful new clothes, which all his courtiers pretend to admire, until a boy points out that he is in fact naked]
More example sentences
- Most of what we viewed fell into the "emperor's new clothes" category.
- But virtually everyone is declaring the emperor has no clothes.
- Unfortunately it is a case of the emperor's new clothes: the critics and media say the actors are wonderful - hence the punters pay stupid money to see them!
Definition of the emperor's new clothes in:
- The US English dictionary