keep (one's) head above water

(redirected from keep their heads above water)

keep (one's) head above water

1. Literally, to hold one's head out of the water as to avoid drowning. This lifejacket will help Sally to keep her head above water in the pool.
2. To (barely) avoid being consumed by a stressful or unpleasant situation (often related to work or finance). If credit cards are the only thing keeping your head above water, then your situation is more dire than I thought.
See also: above, head, keep, water

keep one's head above water

 
1. Lit. to keep from drowning when swimming or floating. (See also get one's head above water.) I was so tired I could hardly keep my head above water.
2. . Fig. to manage to survive, especially financially. We have so little money that we can hardly keep our heads above water. It's hard to keep your head above water on this much money.
3. Fig. to keep up with one's work. It's all I can do to keep my head above water with the work I have. I can't take on any more. We have so many orders that we can hardly keep our heads above water.
See also: above, head, keep, water

head above water, keep one's

Stay out of trouble, especially financial difficulties; also, keep up with work or other demands. For example, With new bills coming in every day they're barely keeping their heads above water, or The work's piling up, but I manage to keep my head above water. This expression alludes to keeping oneself from drowning. [Early 1700s] Also see in deep.
See also: above, head, keep

keep your head above water

COMMON If you keep your head above water, you have just enough money to live on or to continue with a business. Thousands of small businesses are struggling to keep their heads above water. I need two jobs just to keep my head above water.
See also: above, head, keep, water

keep your head above water

avoid succumbing to difficulties, especially falling into debt.
See also: above, head, keep, water

keep your ˈhead above water

succeed in staying out of debt; manage to deal with tasks, responsibilities, etc: The company had great difficulty keeping its head above water during the economic crisis.I don’t know how she manages to keep her head above water. She has so much to do.
See also: above, head, keep, water
References in classic literature ?
But everybody will tell you that the few pennies Medora Manson has left are all in Beaufort's hands; and how the two women are to keep their heads above water unless he does, I can't imagine.
Young puppies and older dogs may not have the stamina needed to keep their heads above water.
In each area I have visited, I have been alarmed by how many people rely on food banks to keep their heads above water.
3 struggling to keep their heads above water in the First Division of the West Region, then looked dead and buried when another Smith header made it 3-0.
Ordinary people who are struggling to keep their heads above water because of low wages and the high cost of living will hardly be rushing to take out a PS15,000 ISA.
They had been washed off the sandbanks and into the sea and were struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the strong rip current.
We are not all in it together and most people in Britain are struggling to keep their heads above water.
I welcome this credit union which will give access to low interest loans and help families keep their heads above water until the economic climate improves.
STRONG sales of party food and clothes ahead of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations helped beleaguered retailers keep their heads above water in June.
Whereas in recent times the banking industry has flourished, at the same farmers have worked hard to keep their heads above water.
com, said: "This will pile even more pressure on cash-strapped families struggling to keep their heads above water.
YORKSHIRE were left struggling to keep their heads above water after another day of fluctuating fortunes in the LV= County Championship Roses clash at Headingley.
The current United side looks light on experience when it's old heads who are needed to keep their heads above water.
WHILE the world is in financial meltdown and entire nations struggle to keep their heads above water as spiralling debts and the crippling credit crunch continue to bite, it was interesting to see that insanity still rules in football circles around Madrid.
While others pull in their horns and just try to keep their heads above water, opportunities abound for a well-capitalized company with a seasoned management team.