back/paint somebody/yourself into a corner
back into a corner
1. To force or be forced into a difficult or unpleasant situation that one cannot easily resolve or escape. A noun can be used between "back" and "into." My boss really backed me into a corner when he asked me to fire the CEO's daughter. Scott has been backed into a corner with this mortgage payment that he cannot afford.
2. To put oneself into a difficult or unpleasant situation that one cannot easily resolve or escape. In this usage, a reflexive pronoun is used between "back" and "into." I really backed myself into a corner when I agreed to go to two events on the same night.
paint yourself into a corneror
box yourself into a corner
If you paint yourself into a corner or box yourself into a corner, you create difficulties for yourself by your own actions. The Government has painted itself into a corner on the issue of equalising the State pension age. You've boxed yourself into a corner, haven't you? You have no one to blame but yourself. Note: You can also say that someone paints you into a corner or boxes you into a corner, meaning they force you into a difficult situation. You'll fight to the death when you're boxed into a corner unless you're provided with a reasonable way out. Note: `Paint someone into a corner' refers to someone who is painting a floor and ends up in a corner of the room with wet paint all round them. `Box someone into a corner' refers to a boxer being forced into a corner of the ring and having no way of escaping.