plumb the depths

plumb the depths (of something)

to carefully examine something in order to understand or explain it Who would want to plumb the depths of the criminal mind?
Etymology: based on plumb line (a cord with a heavy piece of metal attached to it, used to measure the depth of water under a ship)
See also: depth, plumb

plumb the depths

 
1. to experience extreme sadness (usually + of ) His wife left him in May and during the following months he plumbed the depths of despair.
2. to understand something in detail, especially something that is difficult to understand (usually + of ) In hypnosis we plumb the depths of the unconscious.
3. if something that someone does or says plumbs the depths, it is very bad (often + of ) I read one review which said the show plumbed the depths of tastelessness.
See also: depth, plumb
References in classic literature ?
David is all for fun, but none may plumb the depths of Porthos.
But John West continues to plumb the depths of irresponsibility - flooding our shelves with cheap tuna which comes at a huge cost - the indiscriminate killing of marine life.
A CHARITY is appealing for volunteers to scale the heights and plumb the depths - all in a good cause.
SOME people go back to school to climb the ladder, but Robson Green is hoping it will help him plumb the depths.
To apprehend The Beast, Wolf will be called upon to face his own private demons, and plumb the depths of the mysterious darkness surrounding his own personal history.
00) features a 44 impressively imaged card collection and 44 page 'user friendly' booklet that will enable the user to plumb the depths of their consciousness.
Dubai A team of expert divers from around the world is preparing for an historic deep-water dive to plumb the depths of Musandam in search of three shipwrecks.
Ferry believes Burley has been forced to plumb the depths of the SPL to make up the numbers.
The team will also travel across the world to the Southern Ocean, the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, California's Sea of Cortez, and the Mediterranean to plumb the depths.
I simply cannot plumb the depths of the mind that thought there might have been.
Thus Tyson's twelve new paintings, which purport to plumb the depths of "the imagination and the unconscious," were brought under the Romantic sign of the lines' author, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Now we're seeing a natural adjustment as sellers plumb the depths and are forced to drop asking prices again.
While it is entirely appropriate for the ELCA to issue supplemental materials and even to work toward a replacement for the LBW, most congregations have not yet begun to plumb the depths of the green book itself.
While he struggles to plumb the depths of his shallowness, nefarious forces are out to commandeer what little there is of Zoolander's mind.
He gradually begins to plumb the depths of black religious tradition and tap into its reservoir of strength and psychic energy as he comes to grips with a "philosophy born of struggle.