Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

Likely to fail - thesaurus

Synonyms

hopeless

adjective

if a situation is hopeless, it seems very unlikely to succeed or improve

unworkable

adjective

not practical, and therefore unlikely to be successful

unpromising

adjective

unlikely to be satisfactory or successful

disadvantageous

adjective

unlikely to produce a successful result or be effective

precarious

adjective

not safe or likely to fall

shaky

adjective

likely to fail or be unsuccessful

on the rocks

if a business or relationship is on the rocks, it is having serious difficulties and is likely to fail soon

not have a hope in hell

to have no chance of achieving something

uncompetitive

adjective

unable to compete successfully with other businesses or products

hare-brained

adjective

silly, or very unlikely to succeed

Show me more
Show me less

More synonyms

a long shot

an attempt or guess that is not likely to be successful but that is worth trying

an exercise in futility

a useless action that cannot succeed

a pointless exercise

a waste of time

at a disadvantage

less likely to succeed than other people or things

be for the chop

to be likely to be stopped or ended, usually because of a lack of success

be in/out of the running

to have some chance/no chance of success

be on shaky ground

if a project, plan etc is on shaky ground, it is not certain to succeed

Buckley’s chance

noun

Australianinformal used to mean that someone has no chance of achieving a particular goal

the cards are stacked against someone

used for saying that someone will probably fail

the cards/odds are stacked against you

used for saying that you are likely to fail, often because people are being unfair

dead in the water

completely unlikely to succeed

don’t give up the/your day job

used for telling someone that you do not think that they will be successful if they try to change their career

don’t waste your breath

used for telling someone not to try to persuade someone else, because they will never succeed

dying

adjective

a dying tradition, industry, activity etc is not likely to exist much longer

faltering

adjective

becoming less effective and successful

fighting a losing battle

trying to achieve something that you will probably not be able to achieve

fucked

adjective

offensive an extremely offensive word that means having no chance of success

going to the dogs

if a place or organization is going to the dogs, it is not as good as it was in the past

hang by a thread

to be very likely to fail

ill-fated

adjective

mainly journalism likely to end in failure or death

ill-starred

adjective

mainly literary not lucky and likely to fail, cause problems, or have problems

in a state of collapse

used about something such as an organization or system that has nearly stopped operating or existing

inauspicious

adjective

formal something that is inauspicious makes you think that success is not likely

in tatters

something such as a plan or an agreement that is in tatters has been spoiled and will probably fail

it’s no use

used for saying that something is not likely to have a successful result

(living) on borrowed time

likely to fail or die very soon

look good/bad

to seem to be going to have a good/bad result

misbegotten

adjective

formal not well planned and not likely to be successful

noncompetitive

adjective

unable to compete against other businesses or organizations

not a hope/chance in hell

no hope or chance at all

not have a prayer

to not have a chance or possibility of success

not have a snowball’s chance (in hell)

to have no chance of doing or having something

off track

unlikely to be successful or correct

on a hiding to nothing

in a situation where you will not gain very much if you succeed, but will lose a lot if you fail

on the ropes

having serious problems, and likely to fail

on the skids

in a bad situation and likely to fail

overambitious

adjective

used about someone’s plans or intentions

quixotic

adjective

mainly literary ideas or plans that are quixotic are not practical and usually do not succeed

riding for a fall

too confident or taking too many risks, so that you are likely to fail badly

screwed up

adjective

informal a plan that is screwed up is spoiled

someone’s/something’s days are numbered

someone or something is not likely to continue in a particular situation or to exist much longer

there’s no use (in) doing something

used for saying that something you do is not likely to have a successful result

unfavorable

the American spelling of unfavourable

unfavourable

adjective

an unfavourable situation or set of conditions is one that involves difficult problems and makes success harder to achieve

untenable

adjective

impossible to continue because of serious problems, opposition, or criticism

until/till you are blue in the face

used for saying that there is no use in trying to persuade someone to do something because you will not succeed

up the spout

used for talking about something that is wrong, spoiled, or has no chance of succeeding

what’s the use?

used for saying that something is not likely to have a successful result, and so there is no point in doing it

you can’t win

used for saying that no matter what you do, you will not succeed

BuzzWord

hygge

a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

sofar

a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play