between a rock and a hard place

between a rock and a hard place


  • having two very bad choices
  • in a very difficult situation
  • facing a hard decision
  • having two equally unpleasant or unacceptable options


  1. I hate my job but cannot quit owing to my economic condition. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place
  2. I can’t make up my mind whose side I am on; I’m caught between a rock and a hard place
  3. He was caught between a rock and a hard place. If he accepted the offer, he would have to work long hours with low pay, if he didn’t, he would lose his livelihood.
  4. Our company was caught between a rock and a hard place. If we made the deal, we would make a monetary loss and if we didn’t, we would lose our reputation.
  5. They are both my brothers! I can’t go against either of them. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

This phrase originated in USA in the early 1900s. Several other phrases having the same meaning also exist in many cultures. This phrase was used during an economic crisis when mining workers faced low wages working at the rock face on one hand and unemployment and poverty on the other if the refused to work.

B 1 Thought

1 Thought

Rock and a hard place. Capped at 40 paid hrs a week by the state with a live in client who requires round the clock medical care.

- M.L. January 13, 2022

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