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lost cause

a cause that has been defeated or whose defeat is inevitable.
Origin of lost cause
First recorded in 1860-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lost cause
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I have acknowledged a hundred times that I belong to a lost cause.

    Recollections David Christie Murray
  • Always I fought for a lost cause, and always my sympathies were with the rebel.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • But with them then it was a "lost cause," and through no fault of their own.

  • One could fancy it the scene of a last stand in a lost cause.

    The Doomsman Van Tassel Sutphen
  • She drew him for Prothero's benefit as the champion of the lost cause of literature.

    The Creators

    May Sinclair
British Dictionary definitions for lost cause

lost cause

a cause with no chance of success
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for lost cause

lost cause

noun phrase

A hopeless or worthless pursuit; a person or thing that can no longer hope to succeed or be changed for the better: tried to reform her, but she is a lost cause

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with lost cause

lost cause

A hopeless undertaking, as in Trying to get him to quit smoking is a lost cause. In the 1860s this expression was widely used to describe the Confederacy. [ Mid-1800s ]
Also see: losing battle
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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