All dialects/MSA: to spin one's wheels/to tread water


Senior Member
English (Canada)
Hi all,

Are there any equivalents in MSA or the various Arabic dialects (especially Shami and Egyptian) for the English idioms 'to spin one's wheels' and 'to tread water'?

An example context: someone is employed or looking for work and finds that he/she is making no progress and feels unfulfilled because no progress is being made and he/she is doing the same thing every day.

Thanks in advance.
  • cherine

    Arabic (Egypt).
    If I'm not wrong, I think this is like the Egyptian واقف مَحَلَّك سِرْ. The Expression محلك سر is used in/taken from military lingo, where محلك means "in your place/where you are", and سر is the imperative of يسير, so it's about making walking moves but staying still, or moving but not advancing (sorry, I'm failing to find the right words here, but I hope you get the idea).

    The first word is variable according to gender and number واقفة، واقفين, but محلك سر isn't.
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