(one) can't win

(redirected from he couldn't win)

(one) can't win

1. One is unable to find or create any success; one has been constantly and 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
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.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
"He has ridden really well here, considering a lot of people wrote him off and said he couldn't win it again."
He couldn't win. Since the moment he took the ball off Leighton Baines and missed the penalty against West Bromwich Albion last season, things just haven't gone for Mirallas.
I do not see any reason why he couldn't win a first team place and keep it.
While the Cork man was delighted with his performance, the Togher AC athlete was disappointed he couldn't win a medal.
"I think the appointment of Ivan Lendl as his coach was a smart move, not least because he went through a similar problem in his career: no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't win Wimbledon," the Daily Star quoted Becker, as saying.
"He reached ten finals, with the Leger obviously being the highlight, but it was gutting he couldn't win one.
But Moratti sacked previous coach Roberto Mancini - who delivered a trio of titles - simply because he couldn't win the Champions League.
And, although his ratings have improved since last year, polls show he couldn't win an election now.
He wasn't given a hard time once it was obvious he couldn't win and he should be placed to advantage.
Surely not through that back-door system after he couldn't win a constituency because the nominations had closed.
"But Celtic are massive club and Martin O'Neill wouldn't go if he thought he couldn't win things and it would be a great chance for Chris to kick- start his career again."
He couldn't win but finished well to suggest he has plenty of potential and can triumph soon.
Brit actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is odds-on favourite for his starring role in 12 Years A Slave, but he couldn't win a Golden Globe for either Best Actor In A Drama or Best Slave, so why should the Oscars recognise him?
"Last year I was keen to run him, I thought he could win another one or two - I'm not saying he couldn't win another race, but I'm not as keen as I was."
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