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up shit's creek (without a paddle)

rude slang In a challenging or daunting situation. I'm a single mother who just lost her job—I'm really up shit's creek right now. A: "I just found out that the school told my parents that I'm failing French." B: "Oh man, you're up shit's creek without a paddle."
See also: creek, up

up a/the creek (without a paddle)

slang In a challenging or troublesome situation, especially one that cannot be easily resolved. I have no savings, so if I get fired from my job, I'll be up the creek without a paddle. Shouldn't we stop for gas? We'll be up a creek if the car dies on that desolate road ahead.
See also: creek, up

up shit creek (without a paddle)

rude slang In a challenging or troublesome situation, especially one that cannot be easily resolved. I have no savings, so if I get fired from my job, I'll be up shit creek without a paddle. Shouldn't we stop for gas? We'll be up shit creek if the car dies on that desolate road ahead.
See also: creek, shit, up

paddle (one's) own canoe

To act independently. Now that you're 30, people expect you to paddle your own canoe—you can't just live with your parents forever.
See also: canoe, own, paddle

be up a/the creek (without a paddle)

slang To be in a challenging or troublesome situation, especially one that cannot be easily resolved. I have no savings, so if I get fired from my job, I'll be up the creek without a paddle. Shouldn't we stop for gas? We'll be up a creek if the car dies on that desolate road ahead.
See also: creek, up

up the river

1. To, in, or at prison. It is extremely gratifying to see these wealthy white-collar criminals being sent up the river for stealing from so many people. I actually had better conditions up the river than I ever did in the slums where I grew up.
2. In a difficult, troubling, or dangerous situation, especially one from which it is impossible or extremely difficult to extricate oneself. Often followed by "without a paddle." A less common variant of the phrase "up a/the creek (without a paddle)." We're really going to be up the river without a paddle if we run out of gas out here in the desert. How did we get ourselves so far up the river like this? There's no way we can pay back this much debt.
See also: river, up

paddle one's own canoe

Fig. to do something by oneself; to be alone. I've been left to paddle my own canoe too many times. Sally isn't with us. She's off paddling her own canoe.
See also: canoe, own, paddle

up the river

Sl. in prison. (Underworld.) Gary was up the river for a couple of years, but that doesn't make him an outcast, does it? The judge who sent him up the river was indicted for accepting bribery. If Gary had only known sooner!
See also: river, up

paddle one's own canoe

Be independent and self-reliant, as in It's time Bill learned to paddle his own canoe. This idiom alludes to steering one's own boat. [c. 1800]
See also: canoe, own, paddle

up a creek

Also, up shit creek; up the creek (without a paddle). In trouble, in a serious predicament, as in If the check doesn't arrive today I'm up a creek, or The car wouldn't start, so I was up the creek without a paddle. This slangy idiom conjures up the image of a stranded canoeist with no way of moving (paddling) the canoe. President Harry S. Truman used the first term in a letter in 1918. The first variant is considered vulgar.
See also: creek, up

up the river

To or in prison, as in They sent him up the river for five years. This phrase originally referred to Sing-Sing Prison, on the Hudson River about 30 miles north of New York City. So used from about 1890 on, it was broadened to apply to any prison by the early 1900s.
See also: river, up

paddle your own canoe

If you paddle your own canoe, you control what you want to do without anyone's help or interference. With no one managing him, he was basically left to paddle his own canoe. As far as the rest of Europe is concerned we've just got to paddle our own canoe.
See also: canoe, own, paddle

be up the creek without a paddle

be in severe difficulty, usually with no means of extricating yourself from it. informal
Often shortened to be up the creek , this expression is recorded in the mid 20th century as military slang for ‘lost’ (for example, while on a patrol).
See also: creek, paddle, up, without

paddle your own canoe

be independent and self-sufficient. informal
This expression has been in figurative use from the early 19th century: it was the title of a popular song by Sarah T. Bolton in 1854 .
See also: canoe, own, paddle

up the river

to or in prison. informal, chiefly North American
This phrase originated with reference to Sing Sing prison, which is situated up the Hudson River from the city of New York.
See also: river, up

up shit creek (without a paddle)

and up the creek (without a paddle) and up a creek
mod. in an awkward position with no easy way out. (Usually objectionable.) There I was, at Disney World with only a measly $47.54. I was literally up the creek without a paddle. You are up a creek! You got yourself into it, so get yourself out.
See also: creek, paddle, shit, up, without

up the creek without a paddle

verb
See also: creek, paddle, up, without

up a creek

verb
See also: creek, up

up the river

mod. in prison. (Underworld.) The judge who sent him up the river was indicted for accepting bribery. If Gary had only known sooner!
See also: river, up

up the river

Slang
In or into prison.
See also: river, up

paddle one's own canoe, to

To be independent and self-reliant. The analogy to steering one’s boat is very old indeed; Euripides drew it in his play Cyclops (ca. 440 b.c.). Canoes being largely a Western Hemisphere conveyance, this particular version of the term is American in origin. It dates from about 1800. An early appearance in print occurs in Frederick Marryat’s Settlers in Canada (1840). A few years later Harper’s Monthly (May 1854) published the following ditty: “Voyager upon life’s sea, to yourself be true, And whate’er your lot may be, paddle your own canoe.” It became a popular music-hall song.
See also: own, paddle

up a/the creek (without a paddle)

In deep trouble; in a tight spot. Also put more baldly as up shit creek, this expression is almost certainly of American vintage from the early twentieth century, but the exact origin has been lost. Joseph Heller used it in Catch-22 (1961): “You really are up the creek, Popinjay.”
See also: creek, up

up the river

In jail. The infamous Sing Sing Correctional Facility, located in the town of Ossining thirty miles north of New York City, sits on the Hudson River shoreline. Any criminal convicted in a New York court and sentenced to be imprisoned there was sent “up the river.” The phrase, made popular in gangster movies, began to be applied to other prisons in the country, whether or not the cells boasted of a river view. “Up the river” should not be confused with “sold down the river,” meaning “deceived” and derived from the antebellum practice of Northern slaveholders selling troublesome slaves down the Mississippi River for a life of endless toil on cotton plantations.
See also: river, up
References in periodicals archive ?
In April 2005, an inexperienced kayaker aged 48 years, wearing a PFD in a newly purchased kayak, paddled into a stream that had been swollen by rain and had overflowed its banks in a small town.
At midday, we paddled around a bend in the river to see its steady current turn fierce.
On Tuesday, the group paddled about 30 miles and camped at Bryant Park in Albany.
We laughed a lot, fell in the water when my dog jumped ship onto a little spit of sand, paddled past a cow lazily drinking, and finally paused for lunch along a smooth stretch of rock where the trees hung over us like awnings.
While Jill tried to warm the child as best she could, Ed paddled with the waves, aiming for the crowd on shore.
After a brief orientation and safety talk, we slid our kayaks into the lake and paddled south along the shoreline, past car-size boulders, forests of fir and sugar pine, and a pair of ospreys nesting atop a huge snag.
"She only paddled me because I don't say those prayers.
The river was very high, it was higher than I had ever paddled it.
George and I paddled twice, and then we were through and digging in below the last haystack, whipping the 16 footer around in the eddy below.
The very next day he once again paddled the length of the Catalina Channel making him the only two time and three-peat solo SUP to complete the trip, this time while riding a SIC Bullet 14'.
Forest Service has assigned John and Jim to interpret the resource for visitors; the two other kayak rangers survey the recreation possibilities in Misty--those two paddled some 900 miles of shoreline last year.
Then in May 1986 they paddled into the Three Sisters area where Sylvan and I were to become lost, and there they cored another 30 trees.