not worth the candle
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Related to not worth the candle: The game is not worth the candle
not worth the candle
Said of an activity or undertaking whose outcome, product, or returns are not worth the time and resources that it requires. An allusion to gambling by candlelight, a significant expense at one point in time. If the winnings were not sufficient, then they didn't warrant the needless use of a candle. The local council considered the construction of a new power grid throughout the county, but because it would cost millions and only marginally increase efficiency compared to the current infrastructure, they decided that it wasn't worth the candle.
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not worth the candleBRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If something is not worth the candle, it is not worth the trouble or effort which is needed in order to achieve or obtain it. Harrison has described the reforms proposed by the governor as `not worth the candle'. Note: You can also talk about the game being worth the candle. He can boast that he married the richest woman in the world. But he must sometimes wonder whether the game was worth the candle. Note: This expression originally referred to a game of cards where the amount of money that people were competing for was less than the cost of the candle used up during the game.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
not worth the candlenot justifiable because of the trouble or cost involved.
The idea behind this idiom is that expenditure on a candle to provide light for an activity would not be recouped by the profits from that activity. The expression comes from the French phrase le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle , ‘the game is not worth the candle’.
1998 New Scientist But what if, instead of one … five, fifteen or fifty people…have to endure such an existence? At what point does the game cease to be worth the candle?
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