lost cause(redirected from lost causes)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.
Something that has no or a very low chance of succeeding or turning out well. The general gave orders to surrender as soon as he saw the battle was a lost cause. Trying to keep a clean house with three young children is a lost cause.
a futile attempt; a hopeless matter. Our campaign to have the new party on the ballot was a lost cause. Todd gave it up as a lost cause.
A hopeless undertaking, as in Trying to get him to quit smoking is a lost cause. In the 1860s this expression was widely used to describe the Confederacy. [Mid-1800s] Also see losing battle.
n. a hopeless or worthless thing or person. The whole play began to wash out during the second act. It was a lost cause by the third.