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On the Ropes

On the verge of collapse, helpless, state of near collapse


  • This idiom originated in the 19th century. It referred to the boxers who were on the brink of defeat. During the match, the boxers hung onto the ropes when are about to collapse. As the time passed, the idiom started to be used for any person or business about to be ruined in the near future.

His job is on the ropes.

Submitted on February 25, 2019

Additional definitions for 'On the Ropes':

on the ropesLeaning against the ropes of the boxing ring, as when exhausted and nearing defeat or collapse.
on the ropesShowing signs of imminent failure or collapse.
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