(one) can't win

(redirected from we can't win)

(one) can't win

1. One is unable to find or create any success; one has been constantly and/or thoroughly defeated, bested, belittled, etc., in recent times. So Mary divorced John after their company went under, and then his mother died a week later? Man, that guy can't win lately. That's the third manuscript to be rejected by the publishers; I guess I just can't win.
2. One cannot please someone or everyone. The kids aren't happy if they don't have the same fancy gadgets as their friends, and Mary's not happy if I buy the things for them—I can't win! First he criticizes me for spending too much time at home, then he criticizes me for being away too often with my friends. I just can't win with him.
See also: win

you can't win

Also, you just can't win. Whatever one does is wrong or not enough, as in Every time I block one of the woodchuck's holes, I find another; you just can't win. [First half of 1900s] For a synonym, see damned if I do, damned if I don't.
See also: win

I, you, etc. ˌcan’t ˈwin

(spoken) whatever you do, you cannot succeed completely or please everyone: If I spend time with Phil, Jane’s unhappy. If I spend time with her, he’s jealous. I just can’t win. ▶ ˌno-ˈwin adj. (of a situation, policy, etc.) that will end badly whatever you decide to do: They’re in a no-win situation at the moment. Whatever they do, someone criticizes them.
See also: win
References in periodicals archive ?
The volume is titled If I'm Scared We Can't Win and includes work about female experiences from modern Britain to Ancient Greece.
Liverpool boss: We can't win title LIVERPOOL boss Roy Hodgson has warned his club will not win the title until they get new owners.
Redknapp is confident they will do so but said: "Listen, if we can't win then we don't deserve to be in the competition.
Manager Redknapp was confident his side would do so but said: "Listen, if we can't win, then we don't deserve to be in the competition.
We can't win a grandiose war on poverty, but after a tragedy comes opportunity.
We made sure England could not win it, now the Scots have made sure we can't win it - so I see no reason why they can't win it"
He concluded, "I congratulated my staff earlier today, and I informed them that there is no rule that says we can't win this award again next year.
I can't see any reason why we can't win the cup now.
I am a Republican, and I voted for Bush, but we can't win it.
As he points out himself: "No wonder we can't win a game.
That implies that we can't win with Werth and Hernandez in the lineup on a given day.
I've taken a look at what we're doing and I've said if we can't win, I'm going to step out.
If we can't win the race, then this will help us get through the offseason.
She's doing great but we can't win with just one person.
I'm not saying we can't win because I believe we will turn this around,'' Davis said.
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