Is there a proverb in the english language that describes a person with a "sore loser" type of attitude?

For example to convey a context, say there are two children (let's refer to them as Alice and Bob). Alice receives a doll for Christmas and Bob gets nothing. Feeling left out and angry, Bob breaks her doll.

Another maybe more realistic example, say there are a group of hackers/spies trying to intercept a particular communication. The encryption proves to be too much for their technology to handle so instead they do a DoS attack to take down the communication entirely.

In my language, we have a saying perfectly suited for this which loosely translates to "Either I join the game, or no games will be played". It seems like a common scenario to encounter in everyday life under many situations so I am hopeful that there could be one but proverbs are a tricky thing to look for because they are usually quite metaphorical in nature.

I am new to ESE so if the post can be improved let me know so I can edit it.

  • 1
    Hi Jepsilon. Welcome to EL&U. A "sore loser" is the best phrase to describe a sore loser. Are you really looking for a proverb to describe it?
    – Centaurus
    Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 0:31

2 Answers 2


To take (one's) ball and go home is almost an exact match for your translated saying.  It would typically be used in a context like

It's my ball, so you must play the game the way I want (e.g., make me the captain or the quarterback, etc.) or I'll take my ball and go home (and thereby prevent you from playing at all).

From Idioms by The Free Dictionary:

To be so petulant in dealing with adversity, loss, or rejection that one quits or leaves abruptly, often disrupting other participants in the process.  The image is of a child who leaves with the ball, thus preventing others from continuing to play the game.

  • I didn't lose, you guys are playing wrong!  That's it, I'm taking my ball and going home!
  • I've heard that this new artist is a little temperamental, so, everyone, please be on your best behavior so he doesn't take his ball and go home.

Related: “Take your ball and go home” - meaning of this odd phrase?


Taking my marbles and going home is another alternative

  • Hello @Niraj Agarwal. Welcome to the English S.E. If possible please elaborate more on your answer, as one line answers could be deleted. Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 14:58
  • Hi Niraj, welcome to EL&U. This isn't a bad start, but it's too short: the system has flagged it as "low-quality because of its length and content." An answer on EL&U is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct. Can I suggest you edit your answer to provide more information - e.g., quote from the linked source to explain what the expression means? For further guidance, see How to Answer and take the EL&U Tour :-) Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 23:11

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