plumb the depths, to

(redirected from to plumb the depths)

plumb the depths

1. If someone's behaviour plumbs the depths, it is extremely bad. This crime plumbs the very depths of the abyss into which it is possible for the human spirit to sink.
2. If you plumb the depths of something, you find out everything you can about it. He doesn't plumb the depths of a text in the way of his contemporaries. We can never fully plumb the depths of the unconscious.
3. If someone plumbs the depths of an unpleasant or difficult situation or emotion, they experience it to an extreme degree. They frequently plumb the depths of loneliness, humiliation and despair. Note: The above expressions relate to sailing in former times. When a ship was in shallow water one of the sailors would find out how deep the water was by dropping a piece of lead on a string, called a `plumb', over the side of the ship.
See also: depth, plumb
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

plumb the depths

1 reach the extremes of evil or unhappiness. 2 inquire into the most obscure or secret aspects of something.
See also: depth, plumb
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

plumb the depths, to

Get to the bottom of something. This term has been used literally since the first half of the 1500s for measuring the depth of a body of water, using a line weighted with a lead ball, or plumb. Its figurative use came a few decades later and has survived the death of the literal meaning, which gave way to more sophisticated means of measuring. E. W. Gregory used it in The Furniture Collector (1916): “. . . engaged in trying to plumb the depths of duplicity to which dealers can descend in faking old furniture.”
See also: plumb
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
A Palestinian-Egyptian poet whose readings have drawn crowds by the thousands and filled the screens of Tahrir Square amid the aftershocks of revolution, Tamim Al-Barghouti draws on fable and Arabic literary tradition to plumb the depths of loss and yearning in the Arab world.
"But John West continues to plumb the depths of irresponsibility - flooding our shelves with cheap tuna which comes at a huge cost - the indiscriminate killing of marine life.
Deftly written and stunningly illustrated by Kim Dreyer, "Conscious Spirit" (9781572817241, $16.00) features a 44 impressively imaged card collection and 44 page 'user friendly' booklet that will enable the user to plumb the depths of their consciousness.
Dubai A team of expert divers from around the world is preparing for an historic deep-water dive to plumb the depths of Musandam in search of three shipwrecks.
Ferry believes Burley has been forced to plumb the depths of the SPL to make up the numbers.
The team will also travel across the world to the Southern Ocean, the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, California's Sea of Cortez, and the Mediterranean to plumb the depths.
A repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM." Thus Tyson's twelve new paintings, which purport to plumb the depths of "the imagination and the unconscious," were brought under the Romantic sign of the lines' author, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Written by Marquette University ethicist Daniel Maguire, this inaugural volume in Fortress Press' 'Sacred Energies' series seeks to plumb the depths of diverse religious traditions for solutions to global problems: population growth, environmental depletion, the rights of women and minorities, the place of economics and work, and sexuality, to name a few.
While it is entirely appropriate for the ELCA to issue supplemental materials and even to work toward a replacement for the LBW, most congregations have not yet begun to plumb the depths of the green book itself.
In the form of divination known as scrying, a practitioner presumes to plumb the depths of hidden knowledge by concentrating on a smooth, clear, or reflective surface.
He gradually begins to plumb the depths of black religious tradition and tap into its reservoir of strength and psychic energy as he comes to grips with a "philosophy born of struggle."
be relied on to plumb the depths of the master of surfaces.
To this implicit yearning Dery brings a fan's obsessive curiosity and an academic's desire to plumb the depths of previously uncharted text, resulting in a schizophrenic rhetoric that bounces between fawning appreciation and terse condemnation.