a lost cause

lost cause

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.
See also: cause, lost

a lost cause

COMMON If something or someone is a lost cause, they are certain to fail and it is impossible to help them or make them succeed. It would have been all too easy to write this dog off as a lost cause, his trauma was so severe. He tried shouting for help, but he knew it was a lost cause.
See also: cause, lost

a lost ˈcause

an ambition, project or aim which seems certain to end in failure: For many years he supported the development of the electric car, but he now thinks it’s a lost cause.Trying to help him to improve his pronunciation is a lost cause.
See also: cause, lost
References in classic literature ?
His very obstinacy and egoism now enabled him, blind, comparatively poor, and the representative of a lost cause, to maintain his proud and patient dignity in the midst of the triumph of all that was most hateful to him, and, as he believed, to God.
He led a lost cause, and he was not afraid of God's thunderbolts," Wolf Larsen was saying.