keep one's head above water

Definition of keep one's head above water

:to avoid financial failure while having money problems
  • We have so much debt that we're barely able to keep our heads above water.

Word by Word Definitions

keep play
  1. : to retain in one's possession or power

  2. : to refrain from granting, giving, or allowing

  3. : to have in control

  1. : the means or provisions by which one is kept

  2. : one that keeps or protects: such as

  3. : fortress, castle

above play
  1. : in the sky : overhead

  2. : in or to heaven

  3. : in or to a higher place

  1. : in or to a higher place than : over

  2. : upriver of

  3. : superior to (as in rank, quality, or degree)

  1. : something that is above

  2. : a person whose name is written above

  3. : a higher authority

  1. : written or discussed higher on the same page or on a preceding page

water play
  1. : the liquid that descends from the clouds as rain, forms streams, lakes, and seas, and is a major constituent of all living matter and that when pure is an odorless, tasteless, very slightly compressible liquid oxide of hydrogen H2O which appears bluish in thick layers, freezes at 0° C and boils at 100° C, has a maximum density at 4° C and a high specific heat, is feebly ionized to hydrogen and hydroxyl ions, and is a poor conductor of electricity and a good solvent

  2. : a natural mineral water

  3. : a particular quantity or body of water: such as

  1. : to moisten, sprinkle, or soak with water

  2. : to supply with water for drink

  3. : to supply water to


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serious difficulty or misfortune

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