head above water


head above water

Meaning | Synonyms

  • to succeed to survive in bad financial situations
  • to keep itself out of trouble in any difficult situation
  • manage to live well even in financial difficulties
  • to keep up with some difficult work or task in unfavourable circumstances
  • to survive, especially in a financial situation in which one is struggling to get out

Example Sentences

  1. I have to work 60 hours a week just to keep my head above water. I don’t know how people do it.
  2. With my new promotion at work it has been a struggle to keep my head above water.
  3. They are increasing the rent on our apartment. I do not know how we are going to keep our heads above water.
  4. In order to keep my head above water I have had to get a second job.
  5. If my boss doesn’t employ someone to help me soon I don’t know what I am going to do. I can’t keep my head above water with all of the new orders.


The origin of this phrase is not known. It is easy to surmise that the definition is taken from the literal need to keep your head above the water when swimming. If you do not keep your head above water you will drown. In this sense it is used literally. In the idiom it is a metaphorical drowning. Typically used when you are “drowning” in work or debt. Meaning that it is going to overtake you and you have no way to save yourself.

Share your opinions

What's on your mind?

, , ,