to end up in over one's head

  • difficult cuss

    Senior Member
    English England
    It seems to read very badly, but when I say it, it seems OK, very strange.
    Anyway, it means that you have ended up in a position which you can not handle (I think it comes from a reference to being in water that comes over ones head).
     

    GEmatt

    Senior Member
    English/BE, Français/CH, Deutsch/CH (rustier & rustier)
    it means that you have ended up in a position which you can not handle
    :thumbsup: Agree with d_c.

    It seems to read very badly, but when I say it, it seems OK, very strange.
    Yes, I thought maybe the object after 'in' was missing, but I guess if the stress is placed on 'in', as in "in over one's head", it works... very colloquial, I'd say!
     

    Old Techie

    New Member
    English UK
    The saying refers to the ability of a person to cope in a given situation.
    The analogy used is that of a person in water which is an environment where humans can quickly get into difficulties.

    There are two versions of this saying that I am aware of.

    to be "out of ones depth" I believe came first and indicates a person starting to struggle with a situation.

    to be "in over ones head" is an indication of the situation being much worse and that the person is becoming overwhelmed by the situation.
     
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