sink or swim

idiom

used to refer to a situation in which someone either must succeed by his or her own efforts or fail completely
They left me to sink or swim on my own.
In this job, it's sink or swim.

Examples of sink or swim in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At like six years old my dad threw me in the band as the keyboard player, sink or swim. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 18 Nov. 2023 A lot is going to rely on the QB and the Packers’ game plan to sink or swim. Daniel Kohn, Spin, 6 Sep. 2023 Like children heedlessly given the sink or swim test, most books disappear when the next tide of new titles arrives. Scott Burns, Dallas News, 20 July 2023 More silently storied and sympathetic is Amir’s mom, cynical and bone-weary from a society that accords her little value, and the only person encouraging her son to put himself first, sink or swim. Guy Lodge, Variety, 6 July 2023 There is little systematic training to prepare civilian officials for their responsibilities, and they are often thrown into the deep end of the Pentagon and left to sink or swim. Risa Brooks, Foreign Affairs, 9 Apr. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sink or swim.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Dictionary Entries Near sink or swim

Cite this Entry

“Sink or swim.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sink%20or%20swim. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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