“The moment that - that thing entered the room,” she screamed, pointing at Fudge, trembling all over, “it swooped down on Crouch and - and -”

Harry felt a chill in his stomach as Professor McGonagall struggled to find words to describe what had happened. He did not need her to finish her sentence. He knew what the dementor must have done. It had administered its fatal kiss to Barty Crouch. It had sucked his soul out through his mouth. He was worse than dead.

“By all accounts, he is no loss!” blustered Fudge. “It seems he has been responsible for several deaths'.”

“But he cannot now give testimony, Cornelius,” said Dumbledore.

I guess he is no loss! probably means he is useless. But I'm not sure if my understanding is correct. What does it mean exactly?

1 Answer 1


You're right. Literally it is saying "losing him is not a loss, i.e. not losing anything of value".

  • 3
    Yep I find Rowling's phrasing a bit weird here. I would not say "he is no loss" but rather talk about how the death was no loss. Maybe that's just me. Dec 31, 2018 at 14:36
  • 2
    Maybe, @LightnessRacesinOrbit: it seems fine to me. In the British National Corpus, only one of the ten instances of "no great loss" is predicated of a person.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 31, 2018 at 15:36
  • 1
    It's just metonymic, @Lightness. In this context I take "he is no loss" to mean "his debilitation represents no loss". Dec 31, 2018 at 16:46
  • 2
    @GaryBotnovcan I get what it means and how it's formed, it just doesn't seem like a common usage to me. But then of course my sample size is relatively low. Dec 31, 2018 at 16:55

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