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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 ?
"This is the largest single release of Western Swamp Tortoises hatched at Perth Zoo to be released into the wild.
So dangerous was the swamp that cows were not allowed to grace near it.
The study recognised the high productive potential of Yala Swamp. In 1963 the government requested the United Nations for assistance to execute recommendations of the Gibb report and went ahead to reclaim Yala Swamp, apparently for development activities.
They described the swamp eels as similar to 'small snakes seen in the paddy field.'
The Candaba Swamp, also called Candaba Wetlands, is an important staging and wintering area for ducks and other threatened waterbirds.
Additionally, the Swamp has rescued hundreds of mariners and aviators and participated in counter-drug interdiction, significantly reducing the flow of narcotics into the U.S.
Phee added that the state government will pursue those involved in the illegal clearing of mangrove swamps.
The paper sets the context with a brief overview of the SWAMP programme and the relevant national and international policy processes.
The Green Swamp also serves as the headwaters of four major Central Florida waterways: the Withlacoochee, Oklawaha, Peace, and Hillsborough Rivers.
This incredible place is located adjacent to the Great Swamp, on its western edge.
'We decided to be using swamp buggies and since we started using them, the miscreants have been running shelter skelter,' he noted.
The site contains one of the most northernmost southern swamps that attracts migrating herons, egrets and other shorebirds.
The Great Dismal Swamp, an aptly named wetlands, stretches over 112,000 acres and straddles the border between Virginia and North Carolina, and it featured in the minds and creative imaginations of many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century authors, poets, artists, and writers.
Local residents, who nicknamed the fish "Swamp King," teamed up and used a giant net to haul it out of the water.
On the final day of the 2017 flat season, when 23-year-old Colin Keane, right, will be crowned champion jockey for the first time, following a tremendous duel with nine-time champion Pat Smullen, Swamp Fox looks sure to run his race and should reward each-way support in this ultra-competitive handicap.