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The game is not worth the candle

What we would get from this undertaking is not worth the effort we would have to put into it. The saying alludes to a game of cards in which the stakes are smaller than the cost of burning a candle for light by which to play.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.