push a rope uphill on that.

Wookie

Senior Member
Korea, Korean
Regardless of what the data may prove 20 years from now about polycarbonates, there’s no sense in pushing a rope uphill on that. (source)

Is that an idiom? I can't find it in dictionaries. Maybe it's not a common expression?
What does the expression mean?
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hello Wookie,
    It may be either a BE form of an idiom, or a distorted combination of two idioms:
    to push rocks uphill +to piss up a rope. The sense is to try to do something impossible, or to make a futile effort.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It's not something I've heard before, that I recall, but the meaning is clear.
    Have you ever tried to push a rope up a hill?
    It's an impossible task.

    (I'm not familiar with either of cuchu's graphic examples.)
     

    Wookie

    Senior Member
    Korea, Korean
    It's not something I've heard before, that I recall, but the meaning is clear.
    Have you ever tried to push a rope up a hill?
    It's an impossible task.

    (I'm not familiar with either of cuchu's graphic examples.)
    Then what does that mean in the example?
    I wonder what "that" in the example refers to.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    "that" refers to whatever issue is being discussed - apparently something to do with polycarbonates.
     

    mazpk89

    Member
    English-United States
    There is a saying that, "you can pull a string, but you can't push it." Normally it means that sometimes you need to find another way to move or do something (in this case, pull instead of push). In this case, it probably means that the "that" item will not possibly work now or in twenty years and people need to find another way.
     

    Wookie

    Senior Member
    Korea, Korean
    "Canada has banned only infant bottles made with the substance, and says that polycarbonate containers of all types are safe for anyone over the age of 18 months. "

    From the source, I guess "that" refers to saying that polycarbonate containers of all types are safe for anyone over the age of 18 months.

    Is what I think right?
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    In the full context we can take it to mean the following:

    Canada has banned the use of polycarbonates for baby bottles but not for other food containers. Although research in the future may reveal that polycarbonates are also dangerous for older children and adults (or that they're not at all dangerous) there's no point in arguing against the decision because it has to be based on the current scientific evidence not on speculation.
     
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