up a gum tree

Australian English
This page is about the idiom up a gum tree.

Meaning: 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)

Note: 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."

Variety: 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

Idiom of the Day

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Contributor: Matt Errey