lost cause


a cause that has been defeated or whose defeat is inevitable.

Nearby words

  1. lossmaker,
  2. lossmaking,
  3. lossy,
  4. lost,
  5. lost and found,
  6. lost colony,
  7. lost generation,
  8. lost in the shuffle,
  9. lost in thought,
  10. lost motion

Origin of lost cause

First recorded in 1860–65

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lost cause

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

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.