be up to (one's) ears in (something)(redirected from they were up to their ears in)
be up to (one's) ears in (something)
To have too much of something; to be overwhelmed by something. We're still unpacking our new house, so we're just up to our ears in boxes. If any of my guys get hurt at the construction site, I'll be up to my ears in paperwork.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
be up to your ˈears in somethinghave a lot of something to deal with: I’m afraid I’m up to my ears in work at the moment. Can we talk later in the week?
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
up to one's ears/eyes/eyebrows, to be
To be completely engrossed or overwhelmed. These phrases, likening physical immersion in something to figurative engrossment, have been around a long time. Richard Barnfield used “In love up to the eares” in The Affectionate Shepheard (1594). Anthony Trollope had “All the Burtons are full up to their eyes with good sense” in The Claverings (1866), about a century after the term came into use.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer