the game is not worth the candle

The game is not worth the candle.

proverb The outcome, product, or returns of this activity or undertaking 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 the game wasn't worth the candle.
See also: game, not, worth
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

the ˌgame is not worth the ˈcandle

(old-fashioned, saying) something is not worth the effort needed: After trying to get permission to build the office for a whole year, we gave up, because the game was just not worth the candle.In the past, candles were used for light at night. If a game or an activity was not worth the cost of the candles required to light the room, it was not worth playing or doing.
See also: candle, game, not, worth
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

game is not worth the candle, the

The undertaking does not warrant the time, effort, or expense involved. This expression originally was a translation of the French essayist Montaigne’s statement, “Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle” (1580), and found its way into John Ray’s proverb collection of 1678. In the days of candlelight illumination, it literally meant that the card game being played was not worth the cost of the candles used to light the proceedings. It soon was transferred to any undertaking and so persisted through the centuries.
See also: game, not, worth
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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