invent

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didn't invent gunpowder

Didn't do anything significant. I don't understand why he's so conceited—he didn't invent gunpowder or anything!
See also: invent

if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him

proverb A sentiment expressed by 18th-century French philosopher Voltaire that emphasizes the human need to believe in a divine being. People can't help it—they need something bigger than themselves to believe in, so if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.
See also: did, god, if, invent, necessary, not

not-invented-here syndrome

A prejudicial belief that products, systems, software, etc., that were not developed within a company or organization are not as suitable or well made as those that are created in-house. I think the boss's not-invented-here-syndrome stems from experiences he had using third-party software in his previous business, which apparently cost them thousands of dollars trying to implement.
See also: syndrome

reinvent the wheel

To do something in a wholly and drastically new way, often unnecessarily. (Usually used in negative constructions.) The film doesn't reinvent the wheel for action films, but it adds enough clever twists on the genre to still feel fresh and new. The company is often criticized for trying to reinvent the wheel every time they bring a new product to market, adding gimmicks and innovations nobody wanted or asked for.
See also: reinvent, wheel

why God invented (something)

The very reason why something exists in the first place. Typically used humorously. Look, I just don't like interacting with people on public transit. That's why God invented headphones. Sometimes you want something without having to save up for it for months, which is why God invented credit cards.
See also: god, invent, why
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

didn't invent gunpowder

Rur. did not do anything terribly important. He may be the class president, but he didn't invent gunpowder. What's all this fuss about a movie star? She didn't invent gunpowder!
See also: invent

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.

Prov. People need a deity to worship. (This is an English translation of a quote from Voltaire. It is often parodied, using a person's name instead of God and implying that the person is somehow necessary.) The atheist tried to convince Jerry that God does not exist, and that people should not waste their time worshiping Him. "But you can't stop people from worshiping God," Jerry replied. "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him." The unscrupulous mayor was such a convenient scapegoat for the city's problems that if she had not existed, it would have been necessary to invent her.
See also: did, god, if, invent, necessary, not

reinvent the wheel

Fig. to make unnecessary or redundant preparations. You don't need to reinvent the wheel. Read up on what others have done. I don't have to reinvent the wheel, but I will be cautious before I act.
See also: reinvent, wheel
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

reinvent the wheel

Do something again, from the beginning, especially in a needless or inefficient effort, as in School committees need not reinvent the wheel every time they try to improve the curriculum. This expression alludes to the invention of a simple but very important device that requires no improvement. [Second half of 1900s]
See also: reinvent, wheel
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.

reinvent the wheel

If someone reinvents the wheel, they develop an idea or project that they consider new or different, when it is really no better than something that already exists. To avoid reinventing the wheel, it is important that managers are familiar with established research findings in this area. The problem is that they tend to reinvent the wheel each time they are called upon to respond to a new refugee emergency.
See also: reinvent, wheel
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

reinvent the wheel

waste a great deal of time or effort in creating something that already exists or doing something that has already been done.
See also: reinvent, wheel
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

reinvent the ˈwheel

waste time creating something that already exists and works well: There’s no point in us reinventing the wheel. Why can’t we just leave things as they are?
See also: reinvent, wheel
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

reinvent the wheel

tv. to make unnecessary or redundant preparations. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Read up on what others have done.
See also: reinvent, wheel
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

reinvent the wheel

To do or make something again, from the beginning, especially in a needless or inefficient effort.
See also: reinvent, wheel
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

reinvent the wheel, to

To belabor the obvious; to start again from the beginning when there is no need to. This Americanism dates from the second half of the twentieth century and most likely originated in business or industry. “‘The new compiler here is no different from the old one,’ said a Defense Department spokesman. ‘Let’s not reinvent the wheel’” (Boston Herald, 1984).
See also: reinvent
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
This Note examines the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act to determine if Congress in fact achieved its goal of harmonizing the United States patent priority system with the rest of the world, when compared to the European Patent Convention.
[section] 102 (9) Before the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act
1887--Eli Millett invents a core oven for drying small cores in individual drawers.
Edwin Northrup, Princeton Univ., invents the coreless induction furnace.
Video Game Designer: Invents and writes programs for new computer games
"The man who mistakenly claimed to have inspired the movie Love Story and to have invented the Internet says he didn't quite mean to say he discovered a toxic waste site." [WP, Dec.
I know you didn't know that he was the prototype for Ryan O'Neal's character in Love Story or that he invented the Internet.
1837 - Louis Daguerre invents the daguerreotype, the first practical form of photographic reproduction.
census, statistician Herman Hollerith invents an electromechanical machine that reads holes in perforated cards.
Decked out in huge, plastic dinosaur earrings and cheap-looking '50s glasses, Fish demonstrates the truth of Harold Rosenberg's dictum, "An artist is a person who has invented an artist."
1794 - Englishman John Wilkinson invents the first metal-clad cupola, using a steam engine to provide the air blast.
1887 - Eli Millett invents a core oven for drying small cores in individual drawers.
All Li'l Booger Buddies start attending Invent School when they reach the age of 5 years old in order to develop their invention skills.
SRINAGAR: Child prodigy from Kashmir has left the world amazed by making history after he invented a pen that keeps a word count while writing.
Nine-year-old Muzaffar Ahmad Khan, hailing from the Gurez Valley in Indian occupied Kashmir has invented a 'counting pen' that keeps track of the number of words written down on paper through an LCD monitor fixed inside the pen.