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Related to dead loss: Deadweight loss
a dead loss
1. One who is unsuccessful in a certain area or pursuit. My drawing is a mess—I'm a dead loss as an artist. Don't put him on our team, he's a dead loss at basketball!
2. A complete loss or failure, usually financially. I'm not surprised that venture turned out to be a dead loss—I always thought the owner was a fraud. I thought I could reconcile with my mother, but our phone call was a dead loss.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a total loss. My investment was a dead loss. This car is a dead loss after the accident.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. A total loss, as in They've changed the currency, so these old coins are a dead loss. [Early 1700s]
2. A worthless person or thing; also, an utter waste of time. For example, With an injured knee he's a dead loss to the team, or It rained every day, so our week at the beach was a dead loss. [1920s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.