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English definition of “what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts”

what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts

( also it's swings and roundabouts) UK saying
said to mean that the positive and negative results of a situation or action balance each other: "The route through town would be shorter, but there'll be more traffic." "Well, it's just swings and roundabouts."
(Definition of what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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