on the rocks


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on the rocks

 
1. Lit. [of a ship] broken and marooned on rocks in the sea. The ship crashed and was on the rocks until the next high tide.
2. Fig. [of an alcoholic drink] served with ice cubes. I'd like mine on the rocks, please. Give me a scotch on the rocks, please.
3. Fig. in a state of ruin or bankruptcy. That bank is on the rocks. Don't put your money in it. My finances are on the rocks just now.
See also: on, rock

on the rocks

1. Ruined, spoiled, as in Six months after the wedding, their marriage was on the rocks. This expression, alluding to a ship running aground on rocks and breaking apart, has been used figuratively for other disasters since the late 1800s.
2. Served over ice only, as in He always drinks whiskey on the rocks. The "rocks" here are the ice cubes. [Mid-1900s]
3. Destitute, bankrupt, as in Can I borrow next month's rent? I'm on the rocks. This usage, from the late 1800s, is heard more often in Britain than America.
See also: on, rock

on the rocks

If a relationship is on the rocks, it is experiencing many difficulties and is likely to end. By this time her marriage was on the rocks. It's rumoured that their ten-year relationship is on the rocks. Note: The image here is of a ship that is stuck on some rocks.
See also: on, rock

on the rocks

1. mod. (of an alcoholic drink) with ice cubes. (see also rocks.) I’d like mine on the rocks, please.
2. mod. in a state of ruin or bankruptcy. (Like a ship that has gone aground on the rocks and cannot be moved.) That bank is on the rocks. Don’t put your money in it.
See also: on, rock

on the rocks

1. In a state of difficulty, destruction, or ruin: Their marriage is on the rocks.
2. Without money; bankrupt: Our accountant says the business is on the rocks.
3. Served over ice cubes: Scotch on the rocks.
See also: on, rock