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90s Slang You Should Know

touch bottom

Reach the lowest point, as in During the recession the economists kept saying that we hadn't touched bottom yet. This metaphor for reaching the ground under a body of water has been used since the mid-1800s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Examples from the Web for touch bottom
Historical Examples
  • It is truly a deep sea, he says, in which it is impossible to touch bottom.

  • They had been carried into deep water, where the tallest of them could not touch bottom.

    The Boy Slaves Mayne Reid
  • Here, too, soundings of seventeen hundred feet have been necessary to touch bottom.

    The Columbia River William Denison Lyman
  • Nowhere could I touch bottom or find any hope of solid foothold.

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The island might touch bottom when it had only gone down, say, a hundred feet.

  • Longshanks reached down as far as he could but not far enough to touch bottom.

    Czechoslovak Fairy Tales Parker Fillmore
  • Over there, on the outer curve of the bend, the longest pole will not touch bottom.

    An American at Oxford John Corbin
  • "But I'm just going to touch bottom," the tall digger expostulated.

    Denis Dent Ernest W. Hornung
  • At last he gave up trying to make it behave, and swam, pushing it before him, until he could touch bottom with his feet.

    Peter Cotterell's Treasure Rupert Sargent Holland
  • Perhaps we can touch bottom, and you can wade if you can't swim.

    Campmates Kirk Munroe

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