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Related to at sea: All at Sea
all at sea
Puzzled, perplexed, or completely confused (about a subject or some task at hand). I tried to do well in this class, but I've been all at sea since we started.
1. Literally, sailing on the sea in a boat or ship. A: "Is your mother at sea yet?" B: "Yes, her cruise lasts several weeks."
2. Puzzled, perplexed, or completely confused (about a subject or some task at hand). I tried to do well in this class, but I've been at sea since we started.
(all) at sea (about something)
Fig. to be confused; to be lost and bewildered. (Alludes to being lost at sea.) When it comes to higher math, John is totally at sea.
1. Lit. on the sea; away on a voyage on the ocean. The ship is at sea now, and you can't disembark. I spent many happy days at sea on my cruise.
2. Fig. confused; at a loss. Bill was at sea over the calculus problem. Reading economic theory leaves me feeling at sea.
1. Aboard a ship, on the ocean, as in Within a few hours the ship would be out at sea. During World War II a famous American newscaster addressed his radio broadcasts to listeners everywhere, including "all the ships at sea." [1300s]
2. Also, all at sea. Perplexed, bewildered, as in She was all at sea in these new surroundings. This idiom transfers the condition of a vessel that has lost its bearings to the human mind. Charles Dickens used it in Little Dorrit (1855): "Mrs. Tickit ... was so plainly at sea on this part of the case." [Second half of 1700s]
all at seaBRITISH or
COMMON If someone is all at sea or is at sea, they are very confused by a situation and do not understand it. While he may be all at sea on the economy, his changes have brought the West real and lasting political benefits. This was a massive success for a party that, two years previously, was all at sea. Note: The reference here is to a ship or a boat that has got lost.
1. On the sea, especially on a sea voyage.
2. In a state of confusion or perplexity; at a loss.