up a gum tree

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up a gum tree

In a challenging or troublesome situation. (Possums were known to flee predators by hiding in gum trees.) I have no savings, so if I get fired from my job, I'll be up a gum tree. Shouldn't we stop for gas? We'll be up a gum tree if the car dies on that desolate road ahead. This team is undefeated, so we're up against our biggest challenge this season.
See also: gum, tree, up

up a gum tree

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If someone is up a gum tree, they are in a very difficult situation. If another member of staff leaves, we'll really be up a gum tree. Note: This expression may be based on the fact that opossums (= animals with thick fur and long tails) often hide in gum trees when they are being hunted.
See also: gum, tree, up