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be in a pickle
slang To be in a troublesome situation. The adjectives "pretty" and "right" are commonly used before "pickle." Boy, am I in a pickle—I accidentally made plans with two different men tonight! We're in a pretty pickle now because the hotel gave our room away!
in a pickle
In a troublesome or difficult situation. The adjectives "pretty" and "right" are commonly used before "pickle." Boy, am I in a pickle—I accidentally made plans to meet with two different clients today. We're in a pretty pickle now because the hotel gave our room away.
a rod in pickle
obsolete A punishment or retaliation kept in store for future use. The prime minister insisted that Britain had a rod in pickle for any nation that dared encroach upon its sovereign borders in force.
*in a fix
Fig. in a bad situation. (*Typically: be ~; get [into] ~.) I really got myself into a fix. I owe a lot of money on my taxes. John is in a fix because he lost his wallet. John got into a fix.
*in a (pretty) pickle
Fig. in a mess; in trouble. (*Typically: be ~; get [into] ~.) John has gotten himself into a pickle. He has two dates for the party. Now we are in a pretty pickle. We are out of gas.
Fig. a difficult situation. (Pickle = a bad situation.) Well, this is a pretty pickle you've gotten us into.
in a fix
Also, in a pickle or spot . In a difficult or embarrassing situation, in a dilemma. For example, I was really in a fix when I missed the plane, or Lost and out of gas-how did we get in such a pickle? or John had lost all his money in the crap game-now he was in a spot. The first of these colloquial usages dates from the early 1800s; pickle in the sense of a mess or quandary, sometimes put as in a pretty pickle, dates from the 1500s; spot, also put as in a bad spot or tough spot , dates from the early 1900s. Also see in a bind; in deep, def. 2; in the soup; in trouble; on the spot.
in a fixINFORMAL
If someone is in a fix, they are in a difficult or dangerous situation. He kept turning to me whenever he was in a fix and of course I'd help him out. The government is in a fix over access to the countryside.
a rod in picklea punishment in store.
In pickle means ‘preserved ready for future use’. This form, which dates from the mid 17th century, has superseded an earlier mid 16th-century variant a rod in piss .