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ditch (someone)

To leave, abandon, or purposefully lose someone. My little brother was being a real pest around me and my friends, so we decided to ditch him in the mall. I can't believe she ditched me to go hang out with her friends!
See also: ditch

ditch (some place)

To leave a place, especially one that is no longer of use or interest, generally in search of something better. Come on, let's ditch this place and go back to my house.
See also: ditch

ditch (something)

To throw away or abandon something. I was tired of carrying his bag for him, so I ditched it in a bush and went home. I had to ditch my car and walk into town after I ran out of gas.
See also: ditch

hurler on the ditch

A person who offers unsolicited criticism or advice about something in which he or she is not an active participant. Taken from the sport of hurling, a player of which is a hurler. Primarily heard in Ireland. All these people condemning the political process from social media, many of whom I'm sure don't vote, are just hurlers on the ditch in my opinion.
See also: ditch

keep it between the ditches

1. To drive safely; to stay on the road. (Usually said imperatively.) Whoa there, son. I know you're only just learning, but try to keep it between the ditches!
2. To behave properly or appropriately; to stay out of trouble or harm's way; keep to the straight and narrow. (Often said imperatively.) Okay, Bob, I'll see you after you're back from your trip. Keep it between the ditches now, you hear?
See also: ditch, keep

last-ditch attempt

A final effort or attempt to solve a problem or avoid failure or defeat, especially after a series of failures or setbacks. The home team is mounting one last-ditch attempt in the final seconds of the game to try to force an overtime showdown. In a last-ditch attempt to avoid a government shutdown, congress has pushed forward a new spending bill.

the ox is in the ditch

The situation is dire and requires urgent and undivided attention to resolve it. Taken from the Bible (Luke 14), in which Jesus demonstrates to the Pharisees that some emergencies must be dealt with immediately, even if it means breaking the sabbath to do so. I was always taught to keep Sunday as a holy day, but you know as well as I do that if the ox is in the ditch, then you need to do what you can to make things right, no matter what day of the week it is! With our engine shot, stranded out on this desert highway, it seemed pretty clear to me that the ox was in the ditch.
See also: ditch, ox


Of or relating to a situation that is dire and requires urgent and undivided attention to resolve it. Taken from the Bible (Luke 14), in which Jesus demonstrates to the Pharisees that some emergencies must be dealt with immediately, even if it means breaking the sabbath to do so. I was going to miss the biggest meeting of the year, but my daughter's sickness was an ox-in-the-ditch situation.

*dull as dishwater

 and *dull as ditch water
very uninteresting. (*Also: as ~.) I'm not surprised that he can't find a partner. He's as dull as dishwater. Mr. Black's speech was as dull as dishwater.
See also: dishwater, dull

*last-ditch effort

Fig. a final effort; the last possible attempt. (*Typically: be ~; have ~; make ~.) I made one last-ditch effort to get her to stay. It was a last-ditch effort. I didn't expect it to work.
See also: effort


a last-ditch attempt to solve a problem is the final attempt that you make after you have failed several times to solve it (always before noun) The gesture has been seen by many as a last-ditch attempt to win voters. The UN is trying to secure talks between the two sides in a last-ditch effort to avert war.

dull as dishwater

Boring, tedious, as in That lecture was dull as dishwater. The original simile, dull as ditchwater, dating from the 1700s, alluded to the muddy water in roadside ditches. In the first half of the 1900s, perhaps through mispronunciation, it became dishwater, that is, the dingy, grayish water in which dirty dishes had soaked.
See also: dishwater, dull

last-ditch effort

A desperate final attempt, as in We're making a last-ditch effort to finish on time. This expression alludes to the military sense of last ditch, "the last line of defense." Its figurative use dates from the early 1800s.
See also: effort

dull as dishwater

See also: dishwater, dull


1. tv. to dispose of someone or something; to abandon someone or something. The crooks ditched the car and continued on foot.
2. tv. & in. to skip or evade someone or something. Pete ditched class today.
References in classic literature ?
A glance showed that the rest of the enemy -- per- haps ten thousand strong -- were between us and the encircling ditch, and pressing forward to the assault.
A last discharge welcomed them, but did not stop them; they jumped into the ditch, and prepared to scale the breach.
Even Sylvie gave a little gasp, and allowed three of the Frogs, who seemed to be getting tired of the entertainment, to hop away into the ditch, without attempting to stop them.
Then the Lion put his strong front legs against the tree and pushed with all his might, and slowly the big tree tipped and fell with a crash across the ditch, with its top branches on the other side.
Then all that was left of him was the stick, and this fell down on the back of a Goose who was taking a walk by the side of the ditch.
A second dull noise was heard from the ditch, and Raoul ran to pick up a silver plate which was rolling along the dry sand.
While Rostov was thus arguing with himself and riding sadly away, Captain von Toll chanced to ride to the same spot, and seeing the Emperor at once rode up to him, offered his services, and assisted him to cross the ditch on foot.
A man came first, and as he came he lowered little gates along the large ditch of running water, shutting off the streams that had run between the rows of growing plants; and behind him came other men carrying burdens of fresh vegetables in great woven baskets upon their shoulders.
he shouted in a cheerful tone to the horse, jumping out of the sledge and himself getting stuck in the ditch.
Even the lads and lassies giggled and snickered over their part in the affair, narrating with gusto how Larry had jumped on my chest and slept under the bridge, how So-and-So had slept out in the sandhills that night, and what had happened to the other lad who fell in the ditch.
tell you that you may ride him o'er hedge and ditch, and spare
The hounds ran very hard, as it is called, and the squire pursued over hedge and ditch, with all his usual vociferation and alacrity, and with all his usual pleasure; nor did the thoughts of Sophia ever once intrude themselves to allay the satisfaction he enjoyed in the chace, which, he said, was one of the finest he ever saw, and which he swore was very well worth going fifty miles for.
On this course nine obstacles had been arranged: the stream, a big and solid barrier five feet high, just before the pavilion, a dry ditch, a ditch full of water, a precipitous slope, an Irish barricade (one of the most difficult obstacles, consisting of a mound fenced with brushwood, beyond which was a ditch out of sight for the horses, so that the horse had to clear both obstacles or might be killed); then two more ditches filled with water, and one dry one; and the end of the race was just facing the pavilion.
A five-inch stream of sparkling water splashed into the shallow main ditch of his irrigation system and flowed away across the orchard through many laterals.
I never saw him when we forded the river; when we planted the English flag in the first breach; when we crossed the ditch beyond; and, fighting every inch of our way, entered the town.