desperate straits


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desperate straits

A very difficult situation. The noun “strait,” usually in the plural (straits), has been used since the 1600s to mean a dilemma of some kind. One of the earliest pairings with “desperate” was in Harriet Martineau’s The History of England during the Thirty Years’ Peace (1849): “Never were Whig rulers reduced to more desperate straits.” Today the term is used both seriously and ironically, as in “We’re in desperate straits today—the newspaper never arrived.”
See also: desperate, strait
References in periodicals archive ?
Abi Rached also claimed that, in desperate straits, a small fire can be smothered with live green tree branches.
Caught in the center of an international cocaine ring, McGee is in desperate straits; can he survive drug runners, boatjackers, and the mysterious machinations of a tycoon's manipulative wife?
Almost every child in war zone suffers from loss of weight and parents are in desperate straits.
John Mann, the Labour MP who campaigned to clean up Westminster, said: "This tawdry proposal to bring Laws back demonstrates the desperate straits this coalition is in."
After the debacles of 1900 (Paris) and 1904 (St Louis), the Olympics were in desperate straits.
We have managed to avoid these more desperate straits, but much more needs to be done.
If the UO depended entirely on in-state tuition, Berdahl says, "We would be in really desperate straits."
The city has been in desperate straits before - but everyone can be proud that the spirt that saw us bounce back before can undoubtedly prevail again.
In desperate straits, we need to not only roll the dice, but go to the man who has rolled the dice for a living, even in his downtime."
Immediately following the war, its programming often drew attention to the desperate straits of Europe's Jewish refugees who were living in what were then called Displaced Persons camps.
General Motors' landmark initial public offering (IPO) has already garnered $60 billion in orders, six times the amount it had planned to raise, in a sign of healthy investor interest for the massive automaker that was in desperate straits just over a year ago.
But Phili found life even tougher at the crease as Aussie Ross Loaicono (4-27) shot the first three batters out for just 14, and with Paul Leonard (2-41) adding to the early mayhem the home team were in desperate straits on 30-5.
US FIRST LT ADY Michelle Obama made a surprise visit to the ruins of the Haitian capital yesterday, a high-profile reminder that hundreds of thousands of people remain in desperate straits three months after the devastating earthquake.
The visitors were in desperate straits at 83-4 after 24 overs when Kritish took control with a magnificent unbeaten century containing eight sixes and six fours.