I have the distinct perception that there is an idiom similar to such a meaning. I just can't remember it.

An example to clarify:

John writes a program to solve something.

Bob writes another program (probably unaware of John's) to do the same thing although he could have just used John's program.

Bob has [idiom]

  • 1
    you're looking for 'reinventing the wheel'
    – Tom22
    Apr 20 '18 at 23:50
  • @Tom22 . That's the one. I just couldn't remember it.
    – The Z
    Apr 20 '18 at 23:52
  • @Tom22 . Should questions be closed for being too easy?
    – The Z
    Apr 20 '18 at 23:57
  • lol, I don't know .. I didn't vote you down or anything but ... really if asked well, as you did, they should only be closed if they are duplicates. But at the same time the answers should add something. I don't see a duplicate using Google so, I'll leave it to other members here to decide. I don't think there is anything to add here ?
    – Tom22
    Apr 21 '18 at 0:08

"reinventing the wheel"

this is a common idiom meaning, working through the steps to re-engineer something that has already been done well.

from the Wikipedia

To reinvent the wheel is to duplicate a basic method that has already previously been created or optimized by others.

The inspiration for this idiomatic metaphor lies in the fact that the wheel is the archetype of human ingenuity, both by virtue of the added power and flexibility it affords its users, and also in the ancient origins which allow it to underlie much, if not all, of modern technology. As it has already been invented, and is not considered to have any operational flaws, an attempt to reinvent it would be pointless and add no value to the object, and would be a waste of time, diverting the investigator's resources from possibly more worthy goals.

The phrase is sometimes used without derision, when a person's activities might be perceived as merely reinventing the wheel, when they actually possess additional value. For example, "reinventing the wheel" is an important tool in the instruction of complex ideas. Rather than providing students simply with a list of known facts and techniques and expecting them to incorporate these ideas perfectly and rapidly, the instructor instead will build up the material anew, leaving the student to work out those key steps which embody the reasoning characteristic of the field.


filch something (from someone) TFD

to take something, usually of small value, from someone in a furtive manner

As in:

Bob filched John's program!

  • @Tom22 had a nice one too in comments.
    – lbf
    Apr 21 '18 at 0:27

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