be on the ropes(redirected from am on the ropes)
be on the ropes
To be in a vulnerable position and nearing failure or collapse. The phrase comes from boxing, in which a boxer may use the ropes around the ring for support. That team is definitely on the ropes—they're losing 10-1! Now that everyone knows he embezzled money from the company, his career is on the ropes.
on the ropes, to be
To be on the brink of collapse or ruin. The term comes from boxing, where a fighter who is on the ropes surrounding the ring is in a defenseless position, often leaning against them to keep from falling. It began to be transferred to other catastrophic situations about 1960. A Boston Globe article used it in 1988: “He acknowledged that the Dukakis campaign was on the ropes.”
See also: on