Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
(as) dull as ditchwater
Very boring or unexciting. This phrase is often used to describe a person. My date with Dave was not great—he is as dull as ditchwater. I fell asleep during that movie because it was as dull as ditchwater. That lady is nice enough, but she's just dull as ditchwater. Like, I didn't need a 10 minute recap about how she almost lost her keys this morning.
die in the last ditch
To die after fighting valiantly until the end. None of our troops will desert us—they're loyal and willing to die in the last ditch.
ditch (some place)
To leave a place, especially one that is no longer of use or interest, generally in search of something better. Come on, let's ditch this place and go back to my house.
To leave, abandon, or purposefully lose someone. My little brother was being a real pest around me and my friends, so we decided to ditch him in the mall. I can't believe she ditched me to go hang out with her friends!
To throw away or abandon something. I was tired of carrying his bag for him, so I ditched it in a bush and went home. I had to ditch my car and walk into town after I ran out of gas.
hurler on the ditch
A person who offers unsolicited criticism or advice about something in which they are not an active participant. Taken from the sport of hurling, a player of which is a hurler. Primarily heard in Ireland. All these people condemning the political process from social media, many of whom I'm sure don't vote, are just hurlers on the ditch in my opinion.
if one sheep leaps over the ditch, all the rest will follow
proverb If one person takes a dangerous or foolhardy risk, others are apt to follow. Of course all the boys had to try that dangerous ramp at the skateboard park once Billy did. If one sheep leaps over the ditch, all the rest will follow. One hedge fund saw tremendous profit from the sale of subprime mortgages, so it was no surprise that pretty soon it became the trendy new practice throughout the financial market. If one sheep leaps over the ditch, all the rest will follow.
itch the ditch
vulgar slang Of a woman, to masturbate.
keep it between the ditches
1. To drive safely; to stay on the road. (Usually said imperatively.) Whoa there, son. I know you're only just learning, but try to keep it between the ditches!
2. To behave properly or appropriately; to stay out of trouble or harm's way; keep to the straight and narrow. (Often said imperatively.) Okay, Bob, I'll see you after you're back from your trip. Keep it between the ditches now, you hear?
Final, usually drastic or risky, with failure as the only alternative. The home team is mounting one last-ditch attempt in the final seconds of the game to try to force an overtime showdown. In a last-ditch effort to avoid a government shutdown, congress has pushed forward a new spending bill.
A final effort or attempt to solve a problem or avoid failure or defeat, especially after a series of failures or setbacks. The home team is mounting one last-ditch attempt in the final seconds of the game to try to force an overtime showdown. In a last-ditch attempt to avoid a government shutdown, congress has pushed forward a new spending bill.
See also: attempt
A final, desperate effort to save or protect something or to avoid failure or defeat. The soldiers are preparing for a last-ditch defense against the enemy troops. The senator made an impassioned plea on national television last night as a last-ditch defense of the controversial legislation. The experimental high-energy laser weapon could serve as last-ditch defenses against missiles and enemy aircraft.
See also: defense
A final effort or attempt to solve a problem or avoid failure or defeat, especially after a series of failures or setbacks. The home team is mounting one last-ditch effort in the final seconds of the game to try to force an overtime showdown. In a last-ditch effort to avoid a government shutdown, congress has pushed forward a new spending bill meant to plug the debt ceiling for another year.
make a last-ditch attempt
To make a final effort or attempt to solve a problem or avoid failure or defeat, especially after a series of failures or setbacks. The home team is making a last-ditch attempt in the final seconds of the game with a long pass from midfield. Congress has made a last-ditch attempt to avoid a government shutdown with their newest spending bill.
make a last-ditch effort
To make a final effort or attempt to solve a problem or avoid failure or defeat, especially after a series of failures or setbacks. The home team is making a last-ditch effort in the final seconds of the game with a long pass from midfield. Congress has made a last-ditch effort to avoid a government shutdown with their newest spending bill.
Of or relating to a situation that is dire and requires urgent and undivided attention to resolve it. Taken from the Bible (Luke 14), in which Jesus demonstrates to the Pharisees that some emergencies must be dealt with immediately, even if it means breaking the Sabbath to do so. I was going to miss the biggest meeting of the year, but my daughter's sickness was an ox-in-the-ditch situation.
snitches get stitches (and end up in ditches)
People who inform to police or tattle to authority figures will be the targets of retaliatory violence. You'd better just go ahead and forget what you saw, Tom. Remember, snitches get stitches and end up in ditches. A: "I saw you take Sally's lunch money! I'm telling the teacher!" B: "Snitches get stitches, Timmy!"
snitches get stitches and wind up in ditches
People who inform to police or tattle to authority figures will be the targets of retaliatory violence. You'd better just go ahead and forget what you saw, Tom. Remember, snitches get stitches and wind up in ditches.
the ox is in the ditch
The situation is dire and requires urgent and undivided attention to resolve it. Taken from the Bible (Luke 14), in which Jesus demonstrates to the Pharisees that some emergencies must be dealt with immediately, even if it means breaking the sabbath to do so. I was always taught to keep Sunday as a holy day, but you know as well as I do that if the ox is in the ditch, then you need to do what you can to make things right, no matter what day of the week it is! With our engine shot, stranded out on this desert highway, it seemed pretty clear to me that the ox was in the ditch.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
*dull as dishwaterand *dull as ditch water
very uninteresting. (*Also: as ~.) I'm not surprised that he can't find a partner. He's as dull as dishwater. Mr. Black's speech was as dull as dishwater.
Fig. a final effort; the last possible attempt. (*Typically: be ~; have ~; make ~.) I made one last-ditch effort to get her to stay. It was a last-ditch effort. I didn't expect it to work.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
dull as dishwater
Boring, tedious, as in That lecture was dull as dishwater. The original simile, dull as ditchwater, dating from the 1700s, alluded to the muddy water in roadside ditches. In the first half of the 1900s, perhaps through mispronunciation, it became dishwater, that is, the dingy, grayish water in which dirty dishes had soaked.
A desperate final attempt, as in We're making a last-ditch effort to finish on time. This expression alludes to the military sense of last ditch, "the last line of defense." Its figurative use dates from the early 1800s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
COMMON A last-ditch attempt or effort to do something is a final desperate try when everything else has failed. The President has been making a last-ditch attempt to prevent the rebels taking over the city. She gave up all claim on their house and his wealth in a last-ditch attempt to get him back. Note: In this expression, `ditch' means a trench (= long hole in the ground) which has been dug in order to defend a military position. The expression refers to soldiers who are prepared to die in a final effort to defend the position rather than surrender.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
die in the last ditchdie desperately defending something; die fighting to the last extremity.
This expression comes from a remark attributed to King William III ( 1650–1702 ). Asked whether he did not see that his country was lost, he is said to have responded: ‘There is one way never to see it lost, and that is to die in the last ditch’. Last-ditch is often used as an adjective meaning ‘desperately resisting to the end’.
dull as dishwater (or ditchwater)extremely dull.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
a ˌlast-ditch ˈstand/atˈtempt/ˈefforta final attempt to avoid defeat: They are making a last-ditch stand to save the company. ♢ This is a last-ditch attempt to stop the strike. Ditch in this idiom refers to a long channel built to defend an area against attack.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
dull as dishwaterverb
1. tv. to dispose of someone or something; to abandon someone or something. The crooks ditched the car and continued on foot.
2. tv. & in. to skip or evade someone or something. Pete ditched class today.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
dull as dishwater
Flat, boring. This expression began life in the eighteenth century as dull as ditchwater, alluding to the muddy color of the water in roadside gullies. “He’d be sharper than a serpent’s tooth, if he wasn’t as dull as ditchwater,” says Dickens’s Fanny Cleaver (Oliver Twist). This version survived on both sides of the Atlantic well into the twentieth century. Either through careless pronunciation or through similar analogy it occasionally became dishwater—water in which dishes had been washed and which consequently was dingy and grayish.
A desperate final measure. In military terminology of the seventeenth century the “last ditch” was the ultimate line of defense. By the eighteenth century the term was being used figuratively, as in Thomas Jefferson’s description, “A government driven to the last ditch by the universal call for liberty.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer