for naught

(all) for naught

(slightly formal)
without achievement or result Marge's time in jail wasn't all for naught – she earned a college degree while she was there.
Usage notes: sometimes, in less formal use, nothing is substituted for naught: I would hate to think that what we'd tried to do was all for nothing.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of naught (zero or nothing)
See also: naught
References in classic literature ?
Why the apparent ease with which I seemingly deceived them did not rouse my suspicions I know not, unless it was that my mind was still so full of that fleeting glimpse of my beloved princess that there was room in it for naught else.
On the other side know also thou that I On what I offer set as high esteem, Nor what I part with mean to give for naught, All these, which in a moment thou behold'st, The kingdoms of the world, to thee I give (For, given to me, I give to whom I please), No trifle; yet with this reserve, not else-- On this condition, if thou wilt fall down, And worship me as thy superior Lord (Easily done), and hold them all of me; For what can less so great a gift deserve?
The attention paid to this unconventional threesome is all for naught, though.
Ballard was built with the understanding it'd be temporary, but a pretty strong movement emerged as its demise loomed, and it looked like they had caught some ears, but in the end it was all for naught.
Doesn't it make you wonder if the last 100 years of eco-advocacy--and the billions of dollars pumped into it--have been for naught, when all it takes is for one administration to get into power and undo it all?
But if the organs harvested from a cadaver cannot be preserved long enough or well enough to be successfully transported and transplanted to a recipient, all will be for naught.
Unless you can market and sell your products and services effectively, it's all for naught.
The extra money he paid for the insulated windows was for naught.
Hector Ochoa, owner of the San Pedro de Atacama-based Ochoa Turismo travel agency, believes such extravagance may be for naught since the city's already-anemic tourism has tailed off in recent years, amounting to only 4,000 visitors in 1998.
Roddick had a chance to get back into the match in the fourth game, when he had three break points, but all three went for naught, and Ljubicic won the game when Roddick sent a backhand return into the net.
Without such a bill, all of our hard work and joint suffering is truly for naught, and leaves nothing but broken dreams behind us.
And the manipulation and transformation of motives that one might expect from a veteran film composer went for naught here.
I feel absolutely wonderful because I know this money is not for naught, that it's going to be put to good use,'' Sikora said.
Of course, a clever brand name and package go for naught if the wine in the bottle doesn't meet the high standards of today's discerning super-premium wine consumers.
He thought his amazing season, the best in Royal of Simi Valley football history, had all been for naught.