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Idioms

throw someone in at the deep end

This page is about the idiom throw someone in at the deep end

Meaning

If you throw someone in at the deep end, you give them a difficult job to do, or a serious problem to deal with, before they have the knowledge or experience for it.

For example

  • In her first overseas teaching job, Kathy was thrown in at the deep end with a class of 30 kids and no training, no books, and no guidelines.

  • Our manager thinks the best way to introduce new staff to the job is to throw them in at the deep end and see how they go.

Origin: Metaphorical. Probably related to the fact that swimming pools usually have a deep end and a shallow end. If someone is thrown in at the deep end, they'll drown unless they manage to get to the side of the pool.

Quick Quiz

Our new cook Wendy was thrown in at the deep end on her first day when she had to

a. cook breakfast for a family of eight

b. cater for a seminar of 200 people

c. take the afternoon off

Idiom of the Day

Contributor: Matt Errey