Also, in a pickle or spot. In a difficult or embarrassing situation, in a dilemma. For example, I was really in a fix when I missed the plane, or Lost and out of gas—how did we get in such a pickle? or John had lost all his money in the crap game—now he was in a spot. The first of these colloquial usages dates from the early 1800s; pickle in the sense of a mess or quandary, sometimes put as in a pretty pickle, dates from the 1500s; spot, also put as in a bad spot or tough spot, dates from the early 1900s. Also see in a bind; in deep, def. 2; in the soup; in trouble; on the spot.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.