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spent force



spent force (plural spent forces)

  1. A person, organization, or process which is no longer influential, effective, or robust.
    • 1912, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World, ch. 5,
      Evolution was not a spent force, but one still working.
    • 1921, P. G. Wodehouse, The Girl on the Boat (U.S.: Three Men and a Maid), ch. 2,
      I am a ruin, a spent force, a man without a future!
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, “II and XX”, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855:
      “You remember those powerful end-of-term addresses he used to make to us? Well, he couldn't have made them if he hadn't had the stuff all typed out in his grasp, so that he could read it. Without his notes, as he calls them, he's a spent force.” [...] In stating that the Woosters never give up, I was in error. These words caught me amidships and took all the fighting spirit out of me, leaving me a spent force.
    • 2008, Catherine Mayer, "Leaving Europe, Bush Eyes Legacy," Time, 17 Jun.,
      Bush already appeared to be a spent force, an unpopular President eking out his final days of power.