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.) Primarily heard in UK, Australia. 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.
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

up a gum tree

in or into a predicament. informal
This phrase is now found mainly in British English, but the phrase is recorded in the early 19th century in the USA, where possum up a gum tree was the title of a song or dance.
1992 Economist If they should end up seeking a deal with the Unionists, offers of devolution will lead ministers straight up a gum tree.
See also: gum, tree, up

up a ˈgum tree

(British English, informal) in a very difficult or awkward situation: I’ve got bills to pay and the bank is refusing to lend me any more money. I’m really up a gum tree.
See also: gum, tree, up