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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

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

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

it's swings and roundabouts

  (British & Australian) also what you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts (British & Australian)
something that you say to describe a situation in which there are as many advantages as there are problems If you make more money, you have to pay more tax, so what we gain on the swings, we lose on the roundabouts. It's swings and roundabouts, really. If you save money by buying a house out of town, you pay more to travel to work.
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.