circle the drain

Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

circle the drain

To be in a state of severe deterioration such that one is approaching inevitable ruin, failure, or death. Usually used in the continuous form. The company's closure was inevitable, as it has been circling the drain for the last six months. Her political career began to circle the drain after news of her affair came to public light. He was already circling the drain when the decision was made to take him off life support.
See also: circle, drain
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

ˌcircle the ˈdrain

(American English) (usually used in the progressive tenses) if something circles the drain it continues to become worse so that it may not be able to survive much longer: It appears the governor’s political career is circling the drain.
See also: circle, drain
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


See also: circle

circling (the drain)

tv. & in. to be in the final process of dying; to be in extremis. (Jocular but crude hospital jargon.) Get Mrs. Smith’s son on the phone. She’s circling the drain.
See also: circle, drain
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Corvus -- who seems doomed to circle the drain -- instead revisits images, dialogue, and objects that link her past to her present.
If you circle the drain enough times, eventually you go down the plug hole.
The track - Circle the Drain, on her Teenage Dream album - didn't go down too well with Travie at the time.
The track - Circle the Drain off her Teenage Dream album - didn't go down too well with Travie at the time.
The singer ha earlier documented Travis McCoy's alleged drug abuse in her album track, 'Circle The Drain'.
Even without the Catwoman outfit she'd donned, attitude-laced rocker Circle The Drain was a stand-out, while E.T.
"Watching Grandma Circle the Drain" is a memoir of columns as Allen Smith provides his unique views on the world and everything else, showing his long series of published columns as he offers plenty of ideas on how to deal with a changing world.
So I'm sure unsuspecting parents were thrilled to regularly hear the f word on Circle The Drain. And as for Peacock...
But if the country continues to circle the drain, robust intelligence collection and boots on the ground may be required to crack AQAP.
His message to the more than 100 people assembled at The Overlook Life Care Community in early October was clear: Older adults choose whether they "deteriorate and circle the drain" or age successfully.
With the economy beginning to circle the drain and some of Thriftway's contractor customers paying their charge accounts a bit slower, Thriftway's lender started to get a bit edgy.
In fact, gay men are almost as likely to circle the drain of conformity as straight men.
Perry performed wearing a massive peacock tail during Peacock, and in a sequinned Catwoman outfit for the hard-edged, Joan Jett-style Circle The Drain and the laser-beam electro of E.T., complete with a We Will Rock You drum and handclaps intro.
But her wild side has its limits, as shown on the foulmouthed, tough-talking Circle The Drain, an angry tirade at a pill-popping louse.