tread water


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tread water

to be active but without making progress or falling farther behind Sales are about the same as last year, and the company is pretty much treading water.
Related vocabulary: mark time
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of tread water (to stay in one place in water by moving your legs quickly)
See also: tread, water

tread water

someone who is treading water is not doing anything to make progress (often in continuous tenses) I'm just treading water until I get an opportunity to try for a job with more responsibility.
See step on toes
See also: tread, water

tread water

Expend effort that maintains one's status but does not make much progress toward a goal, as in He was just treading water from paycheck to paycheck. This idiom alludes to the term's literal meaning, that is, "keep one's head above water by remaining upright and pumping the legs."
See also: tread, water

tread water

1. To keep the head above water while in an upright position by pumping the legs.
2. To expend effort but make little or no progress to achievement of a goal or an end.
See also: tread, water
References in periodicals archive ?
Screenwriters Adam Kreutner and David Mitchell sustain the tension for most of the opening hour but, like their ill-fated protagonists, they're forced to tread water before the overwrought conclusion.
Still, at 33-30, the Angels tread water relatively well given the offensive flux.
Its 28 per cent jump in profits and news that its drug for hyperactive kids should be on the US market soon failed to register with traders just trying to tread water as the stock market plummeted.
until everyone around you is going down for the third time while you tread water.
This is a month that we can't just tread water, and go 6-6.
He's shattered and probably still doesn't know how he managed to tread water for so long in those waters in his underpants - he's very lucky.
Security resources can be drained when security managers employ vulnerability assessment software that uses superfluous checks, generates inaccurate data and creates voluminous reports that force managers to tread water in a sea of data.
Certainly during this time of deficits and austerity, one would think that the city government would have the common sense and empathy for the taxpayer - many of whom have lost jobs or suffered a reduction in salary during this economic downturn - to at least tread water for a while,'' Uhler said.
The company's ability to tread water during the roughest storms is another reason several top All Star analysts are recommending ORCL to investors for when the tide is friendlier.
The priest and the rabbi are never on a rowboat, although they do tread water on numerous occasions.
Most participants though, expect the market to tread water in the following sessions, especially ahead of key retail sales numbers and producer price index data due out on Thursday and Friday, and perhaps until the conclusion of the FOMC meeting.
The stock market will tread water in the first half of 1999 and improve methodically in the last half of the year once the U.