- a cause that has been defeated or whose defeat is inevitable.
Origin of lost cause
First recorded in 1860–65
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for lost cause
The feeling among those who represented the lost-cause, was intensely bitter and no Union soldier was safe anywhere in the South.The History of Company A, Second Illinois Cavalry
Samuel H. Fletcher
- a cause with no chance of success
Idioms and Phrases with 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.