dead loss

World English Dictionary
dead loss
 
n
1.  informal a person, thing, or situation that is completely useless or unprofitable
2.  a complete loss for which no compensation is received

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

dead loss

  1. A total loss, as in They've changed the currency, so these old coins are a dead loss. [Early 1700s]

  2. A worthless person or thing; also, an utter waste of time. For example, With an injured knee he's a dead loss to the team, or It rained every day, so our week at the beach was a dead loss. [1920s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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