down the drain

Idioms & Phrases

down the drain

On the way to being lost or wasted; disappearing. For example, Buying new furniture when they can't take it with them is just pouring money down the drain, or During the Depression huge fortunes went down the drain. This metaphoric term alludes to water going down a drain and being carried off. [Colloquial; c. 1920] For a synonym, see down the tubes.

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