circling the drain

Also found in: Medical, Acronyms.

circle the drain

To be in a state of severe deterioration such that one is approaching inevitable ruin, failure, or death. Usually used in the continuous form. The company's closure was inevitable, as it has been circling the drain for the last six months. Her political career began to circle the drain after news of her affair came to public light. He was already circling the drain when the decision was made to take him off life support.
See also: circle, drain

circling (the drain)

tv. & in. to be in the final process of dying; to be in extremis. (Jocular but crude hospital jargon.) Get Mrs. Smith’s son on the phone. She’s circling the drain.
See also: circle, drain
References in periodicals archive ?
Some Middle Eastern countries--Egypt, for instance--are grim, depressing places that feel like they're circling the drain.
Circling the drain counter-clockwise at the High Speed-hosted anniversary celebration at Buca di Beppo in SE CA.
When Penny McClain was hired as CEO of Siloam Springs Memorial Hospital in May 2002, the city-owned facility, was circling the drain with a $2.
the sick companies that are now circling the drain are threatening to drag the healthier ones with them," Daley said in remarks to the Bond Club of Chicago.
The 33-year-old is fully committed to the Dons but is dismayed to see his first love circling the drain.
The Bruins can't do anything about the upcoming NHL season slowly circling the drain, but they can look to the future, which they did yesterday by signing pesky forward Brad Marchand to a four-year, $18 million contract extension that will keep him in Boston through the 2016-17 season.
Texas' Women's Health Program may be circling the drain.
When the first season ended, Michael Caffee (Jason Isaacs), the gangster, was circling the drain after a savage beating.