thing of nought
A thing of no value. Not "nothing," but "something" that is no better than nothing, and may be worse. You'll find this phrase in the King James Bible, or Shakespeare, but not too often after the 18th century.
Quince: (...)and hee is a very Paramour, for a sweet voyce.
Thisby: You must say, Paragon. A Paramour is (God
blesse us) a thing of nought.
- Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act IV, scene 2.
Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. - Isaiah 41:12, King James Bible
(...)they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. - Jeremiah 14:14, King James Bible
"...the word 'elil means in Hebrew a thing of nought, and hence idols were called 'alilim, nothings." - Jean Calvin, "Commentaries on the Prophet Zechariah"
"Oh, madam, can I go about with the modest cough of a minor poet, belittling my inspiration and making the mightiest wonder of your reign a thing of nought?" - Shakespear, a character in G.B. Shaw's The Dark Lady of the Sonnets (a brief dramatic argument in favor of public funding of the arts)
It is said of Ahab he sold himself to work wickedness: and in another place, yea, 'for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves' (1 Kings 21:25; Isaiah 50:1). But what is this iniquity? Why, a thing of nought; nay, worse than nought a thousand times; but because nought is as we say nought, therefore it goes under that term, where God saith again to the people, 'Ye have sold yourselves for nought' (Isaiah 52:3). - John Bunyan, "The Acceptable Sacrifice; or, The Excellency of a Broken Heart: Showing the Nature, Signs, and Proper Effects of a Contrite Spirit."
Is a thing of nought a Thing or an Idea?