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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 HeritageĀ® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright Ā© 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
  • Nowhere could I touch bottom or find any hope of solid foothold.

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • They had been carried into deep water, where the tallest of them could not touch bottom.

    The Boy Slaves Mayne Reid
  • Over there, on the other curve of the bend, the longest pole will not touch bottom.

    Expository Writing Mervin James Curl
  • I could not touch bottom with my feet, and so could form no idea of the depth of the stream.

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

    Czechoslovak Fairy Tales Parker Fillmore
  • Not until he was very close to the shore could he touch bottom.

    Caravans By Night Harry Hervey
  • "But I'm just going to touch bottom," the tall digger expostulated.

    Denis Dent Ernest W. Hornung
  • He could not touch bottom there, or even at the base of the Causeway.

    Quick Action Robert W. Chambers
  • Perhaps we can touch bottom, and you can wade if you can't swim.

    Campmates Kirk Munroe
  • It occurred to me that as I had been able to touch bottom on the other bar, I might do so here.

    The Way of a Man

    Emerson Hough

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