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a (poor, pathetic, etc.) excuse for a (type of person or thing)

Someone or something that utterly fails to adequately represent or function as a particular kind of thing or person. I would have been acquitted if that pathetic excuse for a lawyer hadn't bungled my case! He's a rotten excuse for a husband, but I have to admit that he's a great father. When I showed my friend my poor excuse for a soufflé, she just started laughing.
See also: excuse, for, of, person


Awful; very poor in quality. I've always been lousy with spelling. I've just never cared enough to learn it properly. Wow, the food here is really lousy.

lousy with (something)

Having an abundance of something; having more of something than one needs or knows what to do with. We don't need another accountant—we're lousy with accountants! What we need is someone to overhaul our social media presence. My grandmother was obsessed with taxidermy, so her house was lousy with stuffed bodies of various animals.
See also: lousy
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

lousy with someone or something

Inf. having lots of someone or something. (Like an infestation of lice.) Old Mr. Wilson is lousy with money. Tiffany is lousy with jewels and furs, but she's got bad teeth.
See also: lousy
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

lousy with

Abundantly supplied, as in He's lousy with money. Like louse up, this expression alludes to being infested with lice. [First half of 1800s]
See also: lousy
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.


mod. rotten; poor; bad. This mushy stuff is lousy. Do I have to eat it?

lousy with someone/something

mod. having lots of someone or something. (Like an infestation of lice.) Tiffany is lousy with jewels and furs, but she’s got bad teeth.
See also: lousy, someone, something
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
This is not to say that people who suffer from lousy attitudes don't win sometimes.
Warren praised Cordray, saying as Ohio attorney general he "worked hard on the front lines fighting against fraudulent foreclosures and abusive lending practices." But will he-as head of the CFPB-rely more on better disclosure versus ramped-up enforcement to prevent future bouts of lousy mortgages from becoming widespread?
Our daughter's ordeal was worth a lousy pounds 9,000."
So far, my client's right; such a pittance of a contribution is evidence that machining is probably a lousy business.
Lousy marketers think that the market exists because of their product whereas in fact, it is the other way around.
Insurers should expose these undercover levies because transparent taxes are better than sneaky taxes, and because insurance companies are lousy tax collectors.
Training for care workers was "lousy" he said and low pay meant staff rarely stayed long enough to build up vital relationships leaving elderly residents "doubly insecure".
For instance, is it possible that American Indians were often lousy land managers?
Perkins and his FRC have a lousy track record on racial justice.
It took us a year to realize that, while cuter than pink cashmere, we were lousy as a couple.
With his indifferent leadership, his wild spending, and his lousy guitar playing, it's easy to fault Bush for not making a leaderly gesture at fiscal responsibility.
lousy owners!" I mean that there is something in sports that reveals the truly transcendent dimensions of the human spirit.
These women and mothers were married to the state, and the state makes a lousy husband and an even worse father!
The stellar cast inhabit a world of crooked cops, sexy dames and damn fools, and have lines like: 'It's a lousy room in a lousy part of a lousy town' and 'Kill him for me Marv.