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up a gum tree

This page is about the idiom up a gum tree

Australian English


If you're up a gum tree, you're in trouble or have a serious problem.

For example

  • The company is up a gum tree because they broke some laws about polluting the environment, and they'll probably get closed down.

  • My mate Bruce is up a gum tree. He got a sheila up the duff and now she's twisting his arm to get hitched. (see Note 2 below)

1. This idiom is similar in meaning to "up the creek without a paddle". 2. This can be translated as follows: "My friend Bruce is in trouble. He caused a woman to become pregnant and now she's pressuring him to marry her."


This idiom is typically used in Australian English but may be used in other varieties of English too.

Quick Quiz

Bazza was driving through the desert from Perth to Sydney, but he's up a gum tree now because

a. he's looking for emu eggs

b. a kangaroo chased him up there

c. he's run out of petrol
a) he's looking for emu eggs b) a kangaroo chased him up there c) he's run out of petrol

See Idiom of the Day today

Contributor: Matt Errey