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what you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts

The losses, setbacks, or negative aspects of a certain situation are offset or balanced by equally advantageous or positive elements, or vice versa. (The formation of the phrase can also be reversed.) Primarily heard in UK. This promotion has meant I can provide for my family much more easily, but it's so demanding that I don't see them all that much—what you gain on the swings, you lose on the roundabouts. People here complain about the high level of taxes, but what you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts—if I were to go into the hospital tomorrow for a major operation, I wouldn't pay a thing.
See also: gain, lose, on, roundabout, what

swings and roundabouts

A situation in which certain gains, advantages, or other positive aspects or outcomes are offset or balanced by equally disadvantageous losses, setbacks, or negative outcomes (or vice versa). Primarily heard in UK. This promotion has meant I can provide for my family much more easily, but it's so demanding that I don't see them all that much—it's swings and roundabouts, really. The government needs to be wary of the swings and roundabouts of a slight surplus in the budget, because many problems can follow on the heels of unfettered increases in spending.
See also: and, roundabout, swing

it's swings and roundabouts

The losses, setbacks, or negative aspects of a certain situation are cancelled out or balanced by equally advantageous or positive elements (or vice versa). Primarily heard in UK. This promotion has meant I can provide for my family much more easily, but it's so demanding that I don't see them all that much—it's swings and roundabouts, really. People here complain about the high level of taxes, but it's all just swings and roundabouts, because if I were to go into hospital tomorrow for a major operation, I wouldn't pay a thing.
See also: and, roundabout, swing

say something in a roundabout way

to imply something without saying it; to say something indirectly; to speak using circumlocution. Why don't you say what you mean? Why do you always say something in a roundabout way? What did she mean? Why did she say it in a roundabout way?
See also: roundabout, say, way

swings and roundabouts

BRITISH
If you say that a situation is swings and roundabouts, you mean that there are as many advantages as there are disadvantages in it. There are good and bad points to both approaches — it's swings and roundabouts. You pay less for a property that's out of town but then, you pay more for petrol when you're travelling to work and back. Note: This expression comes from the proverb what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts. People sometimes use the full form of the proverb, or a variation of it. The United States will gain far more on the swings than it loses on the roundabouts.
See also: and, roundabout, swing

swings and roundabouts

a situation in which different actions or options result in no eventual gain or loss. British
This expression comes from the proverbial saying you lose on the swings what you gain on the roundabouts .
1983 Penelope Lively Perfect Happiness I have always reckoned on a fair share of that— swings and roundabouts, rough with smooth.
See also: and, roundabout, swing

ˌswings and ˈroundabouts

(British English, informal) used when you want to say that gaining one thing usually means losing another thing: Higher earnings mean more tax, so it’s all swings and roundabouts.What you gain on the swings you’ll probably lose on the roundabouts.
Swings and roundabouts are both types of equipment found at a fairground.
See also: and, roundabout, swing
References in periodicals archive ?
This week the 63-year-old founder of the Roundabout Appreciation Society has been caught in a media frenzy, courtesy of his latest - and most ambitious project: a 2016 "Roundabouts of the World" calendar.
There were 293 road accidents at roundabouts in Tyne and Wear in 2014, more than the 266 in 2013.
The next two most dangerous roundabouts were at the junction of the North Wales Expressway and the A470 in Conwy, and at the roundabout on the A48 at Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.
The package of schemes includes the widening of the A29 Ring Road carriageway to provide two lanes in each direction; the signalisation of the existing access into ASDA; the signalisation of the Ring Road / Newmills Road junction; and the provision of a cycle / footway along the Ring Road between the two roundabouts to link to the existing provision.
The Department of Public Works and Services in Ras Al Khaimah has started developing major roads and roundabouts of the emirate.
The project also included extending infrastructure utility works, including treated sewage effluent pipes in the Corniche Street's median and old roundabouts locations.
We also felt it contravened highway and traffic regulations, and voiced our objections when neighbouring North Tyneside Council began selling advertising space on their roundabouts some years ago.
Today, seven roundabouts help traffic flow better throughout Conway.
The fundamental difference between mini-roundabouts and all other types of modern roundabouts is reflected in the design concept.
A DEAL has been struck which will see a busy roundabout become the first "sponsored" one in its county.
Dubai For decades roundabouts have been a common sight on the UAE roads.
In other parts of the kingdom whole roundabouts have been removed where signal lights have taken over, which is fine.
From Cardiff to Swansea on the A48, for example, there are several roundabouts which are governed by traffic lights which indicate that when they are green, the oncoming motorist has the right of way over roundabout traffic.
Roundabouts will become the county's preference for all planned intersection improvements and new intersections on Rest Acres Road in southwest Paris, provided that a county-approved Intersection Control Study supports their use.