you can't win


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(one) can't win

1. One is unable to find or create any success; one has been constantly and/or thoroughly defeated, bested, belittled, etc., in recent times. So Mary divorced John after their company went under, and then his mother died a week later? Man, that guy can't win lately. That's the third manuscript to be rejected by the publishers. I guess I just can't win.
2. One cannot please someone or everyone. The kids aren't happy if they don't have the same fancy gadgets as their friends, and my wife's not happy if I buy the things for them—I can't win! First he criticizes me for spending too much time at home, then he criticizes me for being away too often with my friends. I just can't win with him.
See also: win

you can't win

Also, you just can't win. Whatever one does is wrong or not enough, as in Every time I block one of the woodchuck's holes, I find another; you just can't win. [First half of 1900s] For a synonym, see damned if I do, damned if I don't.
See also: win
References in classic literature ?
I suppose you can't help it, if it's not in your nature--but I WONDER you can't win the confidence of that girl, and make your society at LEAST as agreeable to her as that of Robert or Joseph!'
It joins such pearls of wisdom as: "You have to stand for what you believe in, and sometimes you have to stand alone," (Queen Latifah) and "The only one who can tell you 'you can't win' is you, and you don't have to listen," (Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill) in Go Girl (PS6.20, Wordery.com) a book of motivational quotes and tips for when you need a little boost.
They will never win" Tobias Ellwood, Tory MP, who tried to save the life of a policeman stabbed during the terrorist attack on Westminster last March "Ageing is a fight you can't win, so you either lose with dignity or you end up looking like a circus freak" Broadcaster Graham Norton is no fan of cosmetic surgery
LIVERPOOL boss Jurgen Klopp has hit back at Jose Mourinho's jibes by telling him: You can't win the game after it's over.
You can't win without an editing nomination: No movie since "Ordinary People" in 1981 has managed to do that, and many pundits are pointing to this fact as the death knell for "Birdman." But Alejandro G.
"Every top team, when you can't win a title, you should try to play well, try to win all the games, and we have the FA Cup semi-final.
"The way to look at it is whether I can still win the championship, and as a world champion and someone who wants to fight for a world championship, you don't give up until you can't win it.
"Members of the public must realise that you can't win a prize when you did not enter a contest or you can't win a prize by transferring credit.
"You can win once with luck but you can't win ten straight races with luck.
"You Can't Win If You Don't Enter" is written by a self-declared contest queen who has won tens of thousands of dollars annually simply by entering contests.
"To the best of my knowledge you can't win if you never play." he said.
Shellshocked Millers boss Alan Knill said: "If you can't defend you can't win games.
"And if you can't win the hearts and minds of the people, you can't win the war."
You Can't Win A Fight With Your Boss & 55 Other Rules For Success (0060776625, $14.95) by Tom Markert tells how to climb the corporate ladder--by understanding your boss.
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