to chase one’s tail

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Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to be agitated

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b) to be unsuccessful

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If you ’chase your tail’, you exert yourself vigorously but ineffectually, you make futile and pointless efforts.

French translation

tourner en rond, se mordre la queue

How NOT to translate : *se chasser la queue
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Examples in the press

‘Leniency will stop flight of businesses

Michael Hope of Strands Hair Co has questions over what will happen to his business once Council’s special resource concession is up.

Strands Hair Company owner Michael Hope’s Lichfield St premises are inside the cordoned-off CBD.

He "chased his tail" looking for new premises for a reasonable rent and eventually decided he was better off investing $40,000 in transforming a sleepout at his Greers Rd home into a salon.

His neighbours aren’t complaining, in fact they’ve been "fabulous", Hope says.

Stuff.co.nz, 17 August 2011

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Everyday usage

They’ve been working on the project for months, but at this point I think they’re just chasing their tails.

I’m afraid you’d be chasing your tail trying to fix this computer, as so many components are just not workingn properly.

EnglishTonic and Claramedia, 11 July 2021

c) to be outraged

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