be in a cleft stick(redirected from were in a cleft stick)
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be in a cleft stick
To be in a problematic or difficult situation; to have only undesirable or unfavorable options from which to choose. The image is that of a snake being trapped with a V-shaped end of a stick. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Well, we're in a cleft stick now! Do we start pushing the car towards town, or hope that someone passes by with a can of petrol? With such unlikable candidates, the public is really in a cleft stick.
be (or be caught) in a cleft stickbe in a difficult situation, when any action you take will have adverse consequences. chiefly British
Cleft is one of the forms of the past participle of cleave , in its basic meaning of ‘divide with a cutting blow’ or ‘split’. The other form still current in standard English is cloven , and the two words tend to be used in different contexts: we find a cleft stick and a cleft palate but a cloven hoof .