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troubled waters

noun, (used with a plural verb)
a confused or chaotic state of affairs:
The situation was terrible, but like many politicians he was attracted by troubled waters.
Origin of troubled waters
First recorded in 1575-85 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for troubled waters
Historical Examples
  • In this trouble the peaceful Sarah would act as oil on troubled waters.

    The Hound From The North Ridgwell Cullum
  • The Swede is adept at the gentle pastime of fishing in troubled waters.

    The Moon and Sixpence W. Somerset Maugham
  • The harbour lights, illumining the troubled waters of their lives.

    All Roads Lead to Calvary Jerome K. Jerome
  • The wind was rising, and there was a clammy mist on the gray, troubled waters.

    The Cryptogram William Murray Graydon
  • She could detect no light on the face of the troubled waters.

  • The caress, the loving words, acted like oil on the troubled waters.

    Ramona Helen Hunt Jackson
  • "Let me throw oil on the troubled waters," he said, smoothly.

    The Green Mummy Fergus Hume
  • When it does this, a bit of bacon is thrown in, and the troubled waters subside.

  • Stafnitz was a born fisher in troubled waters, and threw a skilful net.

    Sophy of Kravonia Anthony Hope
  • Gillespie, with native tact, poured oil on the troubled waters.

    Blood Royal Grant Allen

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