head above water, keep one's

Stay out of trouble, especially financial difficulties; also, keep up with work or other demands. For example, With new bills coming in every day they're barely keeping their heads above water, or The work's piling up, but I manage to keep my head above water. This expression alludes to keeping oneself from drowning. [Early 1700s] Also see in deep.


Nearby words

  1. he-he,
  2. he-huckleberry,
  3. he-man,
  4. he/she,
  5. head,
  6. head and shoulders above,
  7. head arrangement,
  8. head balance,
  9. head cap,
  10. head cold

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.