(one) can't win

(redirected from we couldn'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 ?
We gave our best and unfortunately, we couldn't win, but we will bounce back and play more aggressively in the next matches.
We couldn't win today,' he said, as he finished with three points in his eight minutes on the floor.
In the end we couldn't win it, but at least we were intelligent enough not to lose it.
I'm disappointed we couldn't win but it's a clean sheet and Conrad Balatoni was again magnificent.
It was a massive shame we couldn't win race two, but we went well in the wet," said Sykes.
We played really well but it was sheer bad luck that we couldn't win," said Sayyid Khalid in a statement to Times Sport.
If we couldn't win it then we wanted to take something from the game so they had something positive to go home with for the summer.
Look at Albion a couple of weeks ago, we couldn't win a home match if we were playing a non-league club.
It's simple; the reason we were 117th a few months back was because we couldn't win a game for love nor money.
We couldn't win the Grand Slam in any other game, but we can in this one.
De Jong added: "I think they thought we couldn't win because of what has happened before.
He said: "In a seat that was Labour for 30 years, in the north of England where they said we couldn't win, with a Labour campaign that threw every bit of dirt at us, every class war, every bit of dirt, after the Prime Minister brought forward his entire legislative programme and a mini budget that tried to bribe people with pounds 3 billion to try and save his skin - after all of that, I hope you'll agree that we ended our by-election drought in quite some style.
But it still wasn't enough to finish off Chester, with Craney admitting: "I'm just gutted we couldn't win the game.
We didn't think for a single minute that we couldn't win this match, but we haven't.
We couldn't win our own event, of course, but we were known thereafter as the 16 Strong Men.