dead in the water



  1. Having lost life; no longer alive.
  2. Lacking feeling or sensitivity; unresponsive.

Unable to function or move; inoperable. For example, Without an effective leader, our plans for expansion are dead in the water. Originally referring to a crippled ship, this colloquialism was soon applied more broadly.

In addition to the idioms beginning with dead

  • dead ahead
  • dead and buried
  • dead as a doornail
  • dead beat
  • dead drunk
  • dead duck
  • dead end
  • dead from the neck up
  • dead heat
  • dead horse
  • dead in one’s tracks
  • dead in the water
  • dead letter
  • dead loss
  • dead man
  • dead of
  • dead on one’s feet
  • dead ringer
  • dead set against
  • dead soldier
  • dead tired
  • dead to rights
  • dead to the world
  • dead weight

also see:

  • beat a dead horse
  • caught dead
  • cut someone dead
  • drop dead
  • knock dead
  • more dead than alive
  • over my dead body
  • quick and the dead
  • stop cold (dead)
  • to wake the dead

Also see underdeath.

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