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lost cause

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

Historical Examples of 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


British Dictionary definitions for lost cause

lost cause

noun
  1. a cause with no chance of success
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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.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.