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Up to (one's) neck in alligators

business adage The full expression is some variation of: "When you are up to your neck in alligators, it's easy to forget that the goal was to drain the swamp." It is easy to be so overcome or preoccupied by various tangential worries, problems, or tasks that one loses sight of the ultimate goal or objective. I've spent so much time dealing with various infrastructure problems for my new business that I've had no time to actually develop our product properly. I guess it's easy to forget, when up to your neck in alligators, that the mission is to drain the swamp.
See also: alligator, neck, up

swamp (someone or something) with (something)

1. To cover someone or something with a large amount of something, especially water. Often used in passive constructions. Heavy rainfall swamped the paths with water, making the mountain totally inaccessible. The tiny village was swamped with mud as a result of the landslide.
2. To fill a boat or ship with water, especially to the point of sinking. Often used in passive constructions. A huge wave swelled up and swamped the boat with ice-cold water. Our ship was being swamped with water, so we had to swim for shore if we wanted to survive.
3. To surround someone or something with something overpowering or pervasive, especially an odor. Often used in passive constructions. His cooking swamped the house with the smell of onions and garlic. I walked in the door and was instantly swamped with the stale stench of cigarettes, booze, and unwashed men.
4. To burden or overwhelm someone or something with a large amount of something. Often used in passive constructions. Angry customers began swamping the customer service department with complaints and threats. After the famous actor mentioned our company in one of his social media posts, we became swamped with orders from all over the country. I'd love to come see your game tomorrow, son, but I'm totally swamped with work right now.
See also: swamp


Extremely busy, to the point of being overwhelmed, overburdened, or overworked. We've been absolutely swamped ever since the famous actor mentioned our company in one of his social media posts. I'd love to come see your game tomorrow, son, but I'm totally swamped with work right now.
See also: swamp

swamp someone or something with something

to cover or deluge someone or something with something. The flood swamped our property with river water. The many orders for their product swamped the small business with too much to do.
See also: swamp


1. mod. very, very busy. I can’t handle it now. I’m swamped.
2. mod. alcohol intoxicated. Look at him! He’s swamped—stoned out of his mind.
See also: swamp
References in periodicals archive ?
He calls it "swamp blues," and it's a mixture of blues, swamp pop and classic country.
Collectively we (towns) all worked well together and were able to pull a 700- to 1,000-pound horse from a swamp," Mr.
Although private lands can allow for more flexibility in management options, publicly-owned areas contain most of the largest remaining habitat patches (Woolf and Barbour, 2002) and sites where swamp rabbits are highly abundant (Rubert, 2007).
Red swamp crayfish have already become established in mainland Europe in recent years, where they have had a significant, negative impact on smaller indigenous crayfish and other wildlife and ecosystems.
Swamp rabbits (Sylvilagus aquaticus) inhabit bottomland hardwood forests of the southeastern United States, with their northern range extending along the Ohio and Mississippi river drainages into extreme southwestern Indiana and southern Illinois (Chapman & Feldhamer 1981).
Their plant roots systems act as nurseries for animals in the swamp," providing a place for fish and other species to lay their eggs, she said.
Rescuers covered in mud emerged from the swamps carrying Nadia on a stretcher through the dense woods around Winter Springs, just north of Orlando.
The Oakland Swamp is one of three large wetland complexes where the GRCA has acquired donated land recently.
One of Endo's earliest references to the swamp, a January 24, 1951, entry in Sakka no nikki ("The Writer's Diary") refers to the pond behind his childhood home at Nikawa, transposing the pond into a symbolic swamp:
Swamp Soccer originated in Finland and has now become a huge global event.
Curiously, however, it is the swamp, an element of truly wild nature adjoining the river, that precipitates the eventual emergence of the "machine in the garden," or the reminder of the world and its realities that Nick tries, and fails, to escape.
No strong typhoons caused floods last year in this part of the 32,000-hectare swamp that extends to Bulacan province on the south and Nueva Ecija province on the northeast, unlike in 2011 because of Typhoons 'Pedring' (international name: Nesat) and 'Quiel' (international name: Nalgae).
The Kenya Wildlife Service says there are only 250 of the animals remaining: Uasin-Gishu County has 40 at the Kesses scheme; Saiwa National Park in Trans-nzoia has 60, while Nandi County's King'wal Swamp has 150.
JOE MURPHY'S tough and versatile five-year-old Swamp Fox should make a bold bid to land the [euro]100,000 Naas November Handicap in Naas tomorrow.
I had been hunting in a 15-acre woodlot bordered by swamp on the east and west sides, houses to the south and an old, abandoned junkyard to the north.