up the creek
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The Oxford English Dictionary records the first use of "up the creek" as being in American English in 1941.
Audio (AU) (file)
- (idiomatic) In trouble; in a difficult situation.
- We'll be up the creek if we lose those files, so we should back them up regularly.
- The addition of "without a paddle" in alternative forms is considered by some to suggest an intensification of the difficulty of the situation.