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Definition of Idiomatic Expressions


What does be dead in the water mean?

Meaning of idioms with examples...

be dead in the water


The idiom dead in the water means that something is unable to move or function.


The phrase may be related to sailing boats. The metaphor comes from a sailing boat that cannot move because there is no wind. Similarly, when we say that something is dead in the water, we suggest that it is unsuccessful and it seems impossible that it will be successful in the future, very much like the crippled sailing boat which is unable to function or move.

Alternatively, the phrase may refer to the image of a dead fish floating.


If the conservative party doesn’t vote for the treaty, it would become dead in the water.
Because of the pandemic, the whole economy is dead in the water.
Without effective leadership, the government’s plans for economic growth will be dead in the water.

This idiom is in the death category

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