a losing game

Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

a losing game

A failing or hopeless effort; a situation or activity that is ultimately futile or cannot be won. (Most often used in the phrase "play a losing game.") I'd give up trying to get your brother to agree to this deal if I were you. It looks like a losing game at this point. You're playing a losing game if you think you can convince Sarah to go to college.
See also: game, losing
References in classic literature ?
See, and judge with your own eyes," said the scout, advancing toward the eastern brow of the mountain, whither he beckoned for the whole party to follow; "if it was as easy to look into the heart of man as it is to spy out the nakedness of Montcalm's camp from this spot, hypocrites would grow scarce, and the cunning of a Mingo might prove a losing game, compared to the honesty of a Delaware.