Can someone please provide an idiom for a situation when one gains nothing from a certain affair, but still has to pay the price for it.

For example: a person goes to a resturant to have a meal with limited money, and ends up breaking a very expensive glass on his/her way in and now has to pay for it with the only money he had. henceforth, the person did not eat anything and yet had to suffer a loss/ pay a price.

this is being asked as for a translation of a famous hindi/urdu proverb "Khaya piya kuch nahi, glass torda bara aana" which literally can be translated as: Did not ate or drank, yet had to break a glass worth 12 cents. (assuming 12 cents in that period was a lot of money)


You won't find this in dictionaries, and I suspect it translates literally into other languages:

being over before it began

"It was over before it began."

Minimalism wasn't a real idea - it ended before it started.
Sol LeWitt


Down the drain, according to Cambridge Dictionary:

If work or money is or goes down the drain, it is spoiled or wasted

Attribution:(Definition of “down the drain” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

  • I think this is the best answer to date so I've upvoted it. As far as I know there is no English proverb which comes close to the Indian one, I'll be really interested if anybody comes up with one.
    – BoldBen
    Jul 12 '18 at 6:54

“Adding insult to injury”

That’s the best I can think of.


You can use "Rub salt in the wound" or "Slap in the face".

you can also use "Adding insult to injury" as answered below by Zack H.

That's the best I can think of.


It's a little bit different, but "to be sold a pup" means to buy something that turns out to be worthless. I thought I'd got a great deal on this iPhone, but I was sold a pup. It was just a wood block inside the box.

  • I've heard of pig in a poke and cat in a sack and now this, and apparently all referring to the same thing.
    – Zebrafish
    Apr 25 '18 at 8:08

To do one-self a disservice.

I did myself a real disservice going out to dinner because I broke a very expensive glass on the way in...'.

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