Describing a situation in which one person or group can gain only at the expense of another.
From the mathematical term "zero-sum game".
- The negotiation was a zero-sum game, with both parties trying to gain as much as possible.
- The company's decision to outsource jobs was a zero-sum game, with workers losing their jobs and shareholders gaining profits.
- The political campaign was a zero-sum game, where one candidate"s gain was the other candidate"s loss.
- The economic policy was criticized for being zero-sum, as it helped the wealthy at the expense of the poor.
- The zero-sum mentality of the company's management led to a toxic work environment.