on the ropes


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on the ropes

doing badly and likely to fail His political career is on the ropes.
Etymology: from the idea of a weakened prize fighter who leans against the ropes that surround the boxing ring
See also: on, rope

on the ropes

On the verge of defeat or collapse, helpless, as in They acknowledged that their campaign was on the ropes, and they could not possibly win the election . This expression, alluding to a boxer forced back to the ropes of the ring and leaning against them for support, has been used figuratively since the mid-1900s.
See also: on, rope

on the ropes

1. Sports Knocked against the ropes that enclose a boxing ring.
2. On the verge of defeat or collapse; hopeless or powerless.
See also: on, rope