cleft

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Related to Clefting: harelipped, Cleft sentence

be in a cleft stick

To be in a problematic or difficult situation; to have only undesirable or unfavorable options from which to choose. The image is that of a snake being trapped with a V-shaped end of a stick. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Well, we're in a cleft stick now! Do we start pushing the car towards town, or hope that someone passes by with a can of petrol? With such unlikable candidates, the public is really in a cleft stick.
See also: cleft, stick

in a cleft stick

In a problematic or difficult situation; having only undesirable or unfavorable options from which to choose. (From the image of being wedged into a crack in a stick, unable to move.) Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Well, we're caught in a cleft stick now! Do we start pushing the car towards town, or hope that someone passes by with a can of petrol? With such unlikable candidates, the public has been left in a cleft stick.
See also: cleft, stick
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

in a cleft stick

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If you are in a cleft stick, you are in a difficult situation which you cannot solve easily. I'm in something of a cleft stick — whatever I do, I'll upset someone. Note: This expression may refer to the practice of trapping snakes by holding them down behind the head with a cleft stick (= stick that is Y-shaped at the end).
See also: cleft, stick
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

be (or be caught) in a cleft stick

be in a difficult situation, when any action you take will have adverse consequences. chiefly British
Cleft is one of the forms of the past participle of cleave , in its basic meaning of ‘divide with a cutting blow’ or ‘split’. The other form still current in standard English is cloven , and the two words tend to be used in different contexts: we find a cleft stick and a cleft palate but a cloven hoof .
See also: cleft, stick
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

be (caught) in a cleft ˈstick

(informal) be in a difficult situation when any action you take will have bad results: I was in a cleft stick — my job was boring but I couldn’t move to another firm without losing my company pension.
See also: cleft, stick
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Oral clefting is considered a significant short and long term disability, along with an enormous psychosocial, financial and health burden for whole society.
Subjects born with Orafacial clefting need holistic care to begin from the early neonatal life and usually extend to at least her/his late teens, and involves multidisciplinary care and team approach involving dental, surgical, medical and speech psycosocial therapy follow ups and care.16
(3) Also, oral clefting was significantly more common among boys in Japan and Estonia, (8,11) and most commonly affected by cleft lip and cleft lip with cleft palate in Pakistan.
According to ethnicity, the incidence rate of oral clefting in this study was 0.7, 1.7 and 1.26 per 1,000 in Native Fars, Turkman and Sistani, respectively.
But among Koreans, 8.4% of cases with oral clefting were associated with congenital heart disease, short frenulum, Pierre Robin syndrome, Down syndrome, Patau syndrome, and van der Woude syndrome.
(23,24) A negative association between TGFA and clefting in previous Brazilian studies could be due to selection of controls.
We found no evidence that a TGFA/Taq I polymorphism played a role in clefting in a Southern Brazilian population.
Oral clefting: recent insights into a complex trait.
Clefting. Although patients with velocardiofacial syndrome almost uniformly have clefting of the secondary palate, it is frequently an "occult" clefting that can be observed only on nasopharyngoscopy.
This was illustrated in two series of patients with postadenoidectomy velopalatal insufficiency; in both studies, the authors found that submucosal clefting was the most common predisposing factor to this complication.
Environmental influences may also cause or interact with genetics to produce orofacial clefting e.g.
Genetic factors and orofacial clefting. Semin Orthod.