with (one's) back to the wall

(redirected from with his back to the wall)

with (one's) back to the wall

In a bad or high-pressure situation in which one's choice or ability to act is limited. She finds herself with her back to the wall now that creditors are coming after her for more money than she makes. Sometimes, the best solutions arise when we are with our backs to the wall, when we don't have the luxury of examining every option under the sun.
See also: back, to, wall
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

with your back to (or up against) the wall

in a desperate situation.
See also: back, to, wall
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

back to the wall, with one's

Hard-pressed; making a last-ditch defensive stand. The term embodies the idea that backing up against a wall prevents an attack from behind, but it also indicates that one has been forced back to this position and no further retreat is possible. Although it had been used since the sixteenth century and was already colloquial in nineteenth-century Britain, the term became famous near the end of World War I through an order to the British troops given by General Douglas Haig and reported in the London Times on April 13, 1918: “Every position must be held to the last man. . . . With our backs to the wall, and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight on to the end.
See also: back, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in classic literature ?
Thereupon he seated himself with his back to the wall and his face to the door, and finding an English newspaper on the table, read it until they reached the docks.
"I can't make this out," said he, when he came home from the play one night, and was drinking a glass of cold grog, with his back to the wall, in order that he mightn't be able to fancy there was any one behind him--"I can't make it out," said he; and just then his eyes rested on the little closet that had been always locked up, and a shudder ran through his whole frame from top to toe.