‘retread’

“What’s wrong? You don’t look happy at all about something.”
“It’s the two new people in the Accounts Department. My boss… .”
“Oh yeah! You told me that you were hiring some new people. Young ones.”
“We asked for young people. But my boss decided to hire some tired retreads.”

“When you refer to someone as a retread, what you mean is that he’s burnt out. He has nothing to offer”.
“In other words, he’s very old.”
“Not necessarily. He’s a burnout. Nowadays, a lot of people burn out when they are relatively young.”
“That’s true. It happens in the corporate world quite a bit. So a retread is like a retread tyre?”
“I guess you could say that. He’s been made over and is unlikely to last for a long time.”

Example: “When the government does decide to hire new teachers, I hope they get young people. Not a whole bunch of retreads”. * Most people working for any government agency are either retreads or clock-watchers.

It’s important to remember that the word is mostly used in informal contexts. And you never tell someone that he is a retread to his face.

Source: ‘Know Your English’ (The Hindu) – October 09, 2006.

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