in the hole

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in the hole

1. slang Lacking money or some other resource; in debt. I'm really in the hole after that night at the casino. That vacation was great, except that I'm totally in the hole now for days off.
2. slang At a disadvantage when playing a sport, especially meaning behind in points. Boy, they're really in the hole, down three goals in the first period.
3. Having a score lower than zero when playing a card game. I did well with the first few hands, but now I'm constantly in the hole.
4. slang In a prison cell, especially for solitary confinement. Throw that guy in the hole for a few hours—maybe that'll put him in a talking mood. He posed too much of a threat to other innmates, so they decided to leave him in the hole indefinitely.
See also: hole
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*in the hole

Fig. in debt. (*Typically: be ~; get ~; go ~; put someone ~.) I'm $200 in the hole. We went into the hole on that deal.
See also: hole
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

in the hole

1. In debt; in trouble, especially financial trouble. For example, Joan is too extravagant; she's always in the hole, or Buying all these Christmas presents will put us in the hole for the next few months. [Colloquial; early 1800s] Also see in a bind.
2. In trouble in a competitive sport. For example, At three balls and no strikes, the pitcher's in the hole, or The batter's got two strikes on him; he's in the hole. [Slang; late 1800s]
3. In a card game, scoring lower than zero. For example, Only one hand's been dealt and I'm already three points in the hole. This expression alludes to the practice of circling a minus score in the old game of euchre. The antonym for all three usages is out of the hole, as in It took careful financial management to get Kevin out of the hole, or An experienced pitcher often can manage to get out of the hole. Also see ace in the hole.
See also: hole
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.

in the hole

AMERICAN, INFORMAL
If a person or organization is in the hole, they owe money to someone else. The company is $4 billion in the hole. By the time they ask for help, these families are so deep in the hole, it's too late. Note: The `hole' referred to here may have been a slot (= narrow hole) which was cut in the surface of a poker table in a gambling house. The money which the house charged was placed in the slot, and fell into a locked drawer. Gamblers who owed money to the house were said to be `in the hole'.
See also: hole
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

in the hole

in debt. North American
See also: hole
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

in the ˈhole

(American English, informal) in debt; owing money: We started the current fiscal year $3 million in the hole.
See also: hole
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

in the hole

mod. in debt; running a deficit. Looks like we are in the hole again this month.
See also: hole
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

in the hole

1. Having a score below zero.
2. In debt.
3. At a disadvantage.
See also: hole
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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