tread water

Term

tread water

Definition

To tread water is an idiom meaning to make no progress, to remain in the same spot, or to maintain a difficult or precarious situation.

Examples

He’s been treading water in his career for years and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

If you don’t make some changes, you’ll just be treading water.

Origin

This idiom likely originated from the literal act of treading water, which is when a person stands in a pool of water and moves their legs in a circular motion to stay afloat.

Faqs

Q: What does it mean to tread water? A: To tread water means to make no progress, to remain in the same spot, or to maintain a difficult or precarious situation.

Q: How did the phrase ‘tread water’ originate? A: The phrase likely originated from the literal act of treading water, which is when a person stands in a pool of water and moves their legs in a circular motion to stay afloat.