(one) can't win

(redirected from couldn't win)

(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 Mary'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

I, you, etc. ˌcan’t ˈwin

(spoken) whatever you do, you cannot succeed completely or please everyone: If I spend time with Phil, Jane’s unhappy. If I spend time with her, he’s jealous. I just can’t win. ▶ ˌno-ˈwin adj. (of a situation, policy, etc.) that will end badly whatever you decide to do: They’re in a no-win situation at the moment. Whatever they do, someone criticizes them.
See also: win
References in classic literature ?
You couldn't win from me in a thousand years," Danny assured him.
We gave our best and unfortunately, we couldn't win, but we will bounce back and play more aggressively in the next matches.
Lahore Hawks Rugby Club was fourth with 6 points while the Lodhran team couldn't win any point.
In the finals, Kyrgyzstani and her play mate faced Sofia Shapatova (Georgia) and Anastasia Vasileva (Ukraine) but couldn't win taking the second place.
Summary: New Delhi [India], Nov 18 (ANI): Satpal Singh, coach of Sushil Kumar, on Saturday said that the players who offered walkovers to the double Olympic medallist in the National Wrestling Championship were aware that they couldn't win against him.
We couldn't win today,' he said, as he finished with three points in his eight minutes on the floor.
I retired when I knew I couldn't win, my nerve had got a bit fragile.
In the end we couldn't win it, but at least we were intelligent enough not to lose it.
I'm disappointed we couldn't win but it's a clean sheet and Conrad Balatoni was again magnificent.
They would play well against top teams, but they couldn't win the games they should have won against the lower teams.
FAMOUS FIVE Five fun film quotes about gambling 1 "$20,000 you couldn't win that in a poker game
However, it was slightly disappointing she couldn't win given the runner-up was weak in the market and clearly very green.
It was a massive shame we couldn't win race two, but we went well in the wet," said Sykes.
We wanted to win but we conceded two goals and couldn't win.
There would be games where we dominated for 90 minutes and yet still couldn't win, the most devastating example being a Scottish Cup tie at Easter Road.