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Jen’s English Tips – Water idioms

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Ten water idioms for difficult situations

In English there are a number of idioms using the word water. As I hope you know, water’s very important: we use it for drinking, washing and splashing about in. On the other hand, water’s also dangerous: for example, we’re careful to watch young children when they play near rivers or the sea and, of course, giant killer-sharks, like Jaws, live in water! Water idioms often highlight the dangerous or difficult side of our watery friend. Here are 10 water idioms which can help you describe difficult situations:
1-To be in deep water
To be in a difficult situation which is hard to deal with:
“I’ll be in deep water unless I pass that exam. Without a pass, I won’t be able to get into university.”
2 To be in hot water
Very similar to deep water (above), but with an emphasis on being punished for your actions:
“I’m going to be in hot water with my boss when he finds out that I lost our client’s account.”
3-To be out of ones depth
To be in a situation that is too difficult for you to deal with:
“I didn’t understand anything they were talking about at the meeting; I was totally out of my depth.”
4-To be like a fish out of water
To feel awkward / uncomfortable because you are in an situation which you have not experienced before:
“I grew up in the countryside so when I moved to the city I felt like a fish out of water.”
5-To pour cold water on something
To be critical of a plan that others thought was exciting or great:
“I really don’t want to pour cold water on your plan, but I really don’t think it will work.”
6-To blow something out of the water
To defeat someone or something that you are competing with, or to achieve much more than they do:
“Microsoft are confident that their new software will blow all other companys’ software out of the water.”
7-Water under the bridge
Something is water under the bridge when it belongs in the past isn’t important or troubling any more:
“I fought with my brother once over a woman we both liked, but it’s all water under the bridge now.”
8-Does not hold water
When something does not hold water it seems that it an idea, plan or statement is wrong or false:
“The reason she gave for being late for class didn’t hold water; I’m sure she was lying.”
9-To be dead in the water
When something is dead in the water it has stopped making any progress, it has failed and has no hope for the future:
“Since our boss left, this company has been dead in the water.”
10 – Come hell or high water
This expression means “no matter what happens”:
“I don’t want to work late again today. Come hell or high water, I’m leaving at 5pm.”

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