on the rocks


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

on the rocks

 
1. Lit. [of a ship] broken and marooned on rocks in the sea. The ship crashed and was on the rocks until the next high tide.
2. Fig. [of an alcoholic drink] served with ice cubes. I'd like mine on the rocks, please. Give me a scotch on the rocks, please.
3. Fig. in a state of ruin or bankruptcy. That bank is on the rocks. Don't put your money in it. My finances are on the rocks just now.
See also: on, rock

on the rocks

1. likely to fail because of serious problems At the time, it seemed like capitalism was on the rocks. It became clear that her 15-year marriage to David was on the rocks.
Usage notes: most often refers to relationships between people or organizations, as in the examples
2. with ice I'll have a whiskey and soda on the rocks.
Usage notes: used only to refer to alcoholic drinks
See also: on, rock

on the rocks

1. Ruined, spoiled, as in Six months after the wedding, their marriage was on the rocks. This expression, alluding to a ship running aground on rocks and breaking apart, has been used figuratively for other disasters since the late 1800s.
2. Served over ice only, as in He always drinks whiskey on the rocks. The "rocks" here are the ice cubes. [Mid-1900s]
3. Destitute, bankrupt, as in Can I borrow next month's rent? I'm on the rocks. This usage, from the late 1800s, is heard more often in Britain than America.
See also: on, rock

on the rocks

1. mod. (of an alcoholic drink) with ice cubes. (see also rocks.) I’d like mine on the rocks, please.
2. mod. in a state of ruin or bankruptcy. (Like a ship that has gone aground on the rocks and cannot be moved.) That bank is on the rocks. Don’t put your money in it.
See also: on, rock

on the rocks

1. In a state of difficulty, destruction, or ruin: Their marriage is on the rocks.
2. Without money; bankrupt: Our accountant says the business is on the rocks.
3. Served over ice cubes: Scotch on the rocks.
See also: on, rock