Literally: dragon – head – snake – tail
Alternately: A strong or exciting beginning and a weak or dull ending. In with a bang, out with a whimper. Anticlimax. Alternately, something that looks impressive but in reality is lacking.
Notes: The 竜 may alternately be pronounced ryou, or replaced with 虎 (here pronounced ko), “tiger.”
This compound can be traced back to The Transmission of the Lamp (景徳伝灯録), an 11th-century CE Chinese lineage of Zen Buddhists.
It can be considered something of an antonym to last weekend’s kotowaza.