Many programming languages are routinely created with promises of a new sort of paradigm that will eliminate inefficiency from the process of creating software. Like most of us who set out to change the world, they frequently find it difficult to manage their own and their solutions frequently create larger problems.

What is a good word or phrase that describes these sort of "Pyrrhic quagmires" that are "not worth the effort"?

  • That's called "a bad investment"
    – Jim
    Mar 8, 2016 at 4:19
  • @Jim Definitely a good phrase that fits the bill, but are there any others that do provide the same tone of negativity?
    – zetavolt
    Mar 8, 2016 at 4:21
  • Do? or Don't?
    – Jim
    Mar 8, 2016 at 4:23
  • My apologies, you are absolutely right -- don't
    – zetavolt
    Mar 8, 2016 at 4:23
  • 2
    Do you mean something like boondoggle?
    – Jim
    Mar 8, 2016 at 4:25

2 Answers 2


It is perhaps idiomatically a white elephant!


white elephant noun

: something that requires a lot of care and money and that gives little profit or enjoyment


A white elephant is a possession which its owner cannot dispose of and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness. The term derives from the story that the kings of Siam, now Thailand, were accustomed to make a present of one of these animals to courtiers who had rendered themselves obnoxious, in order to ruin the recipient by the cost of its maintenance. In modern usage, it is an object, scheme, business venture, facility, etc., considered without use or value.


A black hole.

Definition of black hole - Financial Times:

A business activity or product on which large amounts of money are spent, but that does not produce any income or other useful result.


Full Definition of black hole

2 a : something that consumes a resource continually : a financial black hole

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