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Related to spin wheels: spin one's wheels
spin (one's) wheels
To waste one's time or energy idly or frivolously; to neither progress nor regress, but remain in a fixed, neutral position. They kept me on to manage what's left of this division, but to be honest, I've just been spinning my wheels here for the last couple of years. We haven't been able to do anything new until more funding comes in, so the project is just spinning its wheels for the moment.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
spin one's wheels
to waste time; to remain in a neutral position, neither advancing nor falling back. (Fig. on a car that is running but is not moving because its wheels are spinning in mud, etc.) I'm just spinning my wheels in this job. I need more training to get ahead. The whole project was just spinning its wheels until spring.
spin (one's) wheelsInformal
To expend effort with no result.
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.