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spin one's wheels

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Expend effort with no result, as in We're just spinning our wheels here while management tries to make up its mind. This idiom, with its image of a vehicle in snow or sand that spins its wheels but cannot move, dates from the mid-1900s.

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QUIZ YOURSELF ON “ITS” VS. “IT’S”!
Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between "it’s" and "its" in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 8
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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