in the weeds

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(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


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Prepositional phrase[edit]

in the weeds

  1. (idiomatic) Immersed or entangled in details or complexities.
    • 2003 December 29, Michael Duffy, Mark Thompson, “Secretary of war”, in CNN, retrieved 21 Sept 2013:
      It was in a series of such back-and-forth sessions that Rumsfeld crafted the war on Iraq. . . . [G]enerals were alarmed to see a Defense Secretary get so far down in the weeds of a military operation.
    • 2009 December 5, Peter Baker, “How Obama Came to Plan for ‘Surge’ in Afghanistan”, in New York Times, retrieved 21 Sept 2013:
      Mr. Obama devoted so much time to the Afghan issue — nearly 11 hours on the day after Thanksgiving alone — that he joked, “I’ve got more deeply in the weeds than a president should, and now you guys need to solve this.”
    • 2012 May 19, Stephen Foley, “Business: Jamie Dimon has become Exhibit A in the case for regulation”, in The Independent, UK, retrieved 21 Sept 2013:
      In order to ban prop trading, you first have to define it, and when you try, you are immediately in the weeds.
  2. (idiomatic, restaurant slang, of a cook or server) Overwhelmed with diners' orders.
    • 1998 June 24, Eric Asimov, “The First Job: Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire”, in New York Times, retrieved 21 Sept 2013:
      Anger may be the only recourse when you're "in the weeds," as chefs call the nightmare of not being ready when orders pour in and you fall behind and can't see a way out.
    • 2001, Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections:
      She saw that she was in the weeds on every front. There were unanswered phone messages from a food writer at the Times, from an editor at Gourmet, and from the latest restaurateur hoping to steal Brian’s chef.
    • 2009 October 22, “'Top Chef' Las Vegas Power Rankings: 'Restaurant Wars'”, in, retrieved 21 Sept 2013:
      She took on way too much work in the kitchen and didn't know when to say when. . . . Like one of the judges said, "No matter how great a chef you are, once you get in the weeds, it's over."