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.
See also: candle, not, worth

not worth the candle

BRITISH, 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.
See also: candle, not, worth

not worth the candle

not 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?
See also: candle, not, worth
References in periodicals archive ?
FLA director general Martin Hall said: "In the longer run the OFT may make it not worth the candle for lenders to offer zero introductory rates and consumers would lose out and new entrants would find it harder to enter the market place.
Ms Hewitt backed down because the game was not worth the candle, but the Government was also anxious about a growing revolt against the measure among Labour MPs.
He remarked: "Criminals from Liverpool who are concerned in the supplying of heroin or any other Class A drug in this area must come to realise that the game is not worth the candle.
Some of them are not worth the candle in that the only thing they could possibly prepare a student for is a career teaching that same subject.
His most incisive thrust concerned the views of the England players that it was not worth the candle if even one person was hurt while a cricket match was being played.
Legal aid is not supposed to fund fanciful cases that many people would regard as not worth the candle.