between the devil and the deep blue sea


between the devil and the deep blue sea


  • between two equally difficult or unacceptable choices.
  • a person is stuck between two bad choices.
  • a person must do wrong or accept a loss no matter what they do.

Example Sentences

  1. I am in a pickle. Anything I do is going to cause this situation to turn out bad. I’m really stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.
  2. No matter what I do, I’m going to end up losing my job. If I tell my boss, they will fire me. If I don’t say anything, they will eventually find out and I could face jail time. I’m literally stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.
  3. Look, we have to get out of these woods because the wildfire will eventually kill us all. However, we can only get to safety by going through the Devil’s Gate. We are truly stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.
  4. Trying to please both his boss and his wife puts him between the devil and the deep blue sea.


In the 1600’s seafaring was a part of a huge global trade. Sailors had to navigate the deep blue seas to sell merchandise and to trade goods. Sailors who went on these journeys had to caulk or protect the hull of their vessels that was closest to the water. If they didn’t their ships would be torn apart. This problem was also complicated because it was easy for a sailor to die while performing this task. Sailors and shipmen created this phrase because of this situation.

The idiom “between the devil and the deep blue sea” is not commonly used in modern language. It is an old-world expression that is sometimes used by people within seafaring or maritime industries.

Share your opinions2 Opinions

Hey, yeah, your organization by “topics” sucks and you really can’t have the site layout as; when I click on a specific idiom, there could be a list of “similar” idioms, or idioms that basically have the same meaning just worded differently? So I don’t have to scroll through this entire site alphabetically … I mean come on. Year 2020 people

‒ Sadie Wright December 26, 2019

I have heard of a lot of idioms but I’ve never used them. To whom it does not hurt anybody. But due to idioms weird way to say it but idioms have a easy to define it. But how were idioms made?

‒ Blaydin Cowder December 20, 2017

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