• October 2, 2022

Up A Gum Tree

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Up A Gum Tree - Merriam-Webster

Up A Gum Tree – Merriam-Webster

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Definition of up a gum tree
British, informal: in a very difficult situation that one cannot get out of
If they don’t deliver the parts we need, we’ll really be up a gum tree!
Learn More About up a gum tree
Dictionary Entries Near up a gum tree
up against it
up a gum tree
upaithric
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“Up a gum tree. ” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster,. Accessed 14 Oct. 2021.
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Up A Gum Tree - Merriam-Webster

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Up A Gum Tree – Merriam-Webster

SINCE 1828
GAMES & QUIZZES
THESAURUS
WORD OF THE DAY
FEATURESSHOP
Buying Guide
M-W Books
LOG IN
REGISTER
settings
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MY WORDSMY WORDS
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idiom
Save Word
Definition of up a gum tree
British, informal: in a very difficult situation that one cannot get out of
If they don’t deliver the parts we need, we’ll really be up a gum tree!
Learn More About up a gum tree
Dictionary Entries Near up a gum tree
up against it
up a gum tree
upaithric
See More Nearby Entries
Statistics for up a gum tree
Look-up Popularity
Cite this Entry
“Up a gum tree. ” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster,. Accessed 14 Oct. 2021.
Style: MLA
MLA
Chicago
APA
Merriam-Webster
cabal
See Definitions and Examples »
Get Word of the Day daily email!
Test Your Vocabulary
Difficult Spelling Words Quiz
Which is the correct spelling?
accommodate
acommadate
accomodate
acommodate
Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!
TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?
Subscribe to America’s largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!
Merriam-Webster unabridged
Words at Play
“In Vino Veritas” and Other Latin Phrases to Live ByTop 10 Latin Phrases
17 of the Finest Words for DrinkingTry These Out At Your Next Happy Hour
11 Obscure Words for ThievesYeggs, jackrollers, footpads, and more
8 Words for Witchcraft and Black MagicWitchcraft, dark magic, and more
Ask the Editors
‘Everyday’ vs. ‘Every Day’A simple trick to keep them separate
What Is ‘Semantic Bleaching’? How ‘literally’ can mean “figuratively”
LiterallyHow to use a word that (literally) drives some pe…
Is Singular ‘They’ a Better Choice? The awkward case of ‘his or her’
Word Games
Surprising Latin American Origins Behind Everyday WordsWhat treat did the Aztecs refer to as “bitter wat…
Take the quiz
Test Your Punctuation SkillsDo you really know how to use a semicolon?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary? Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!
Take the quiz
Up a gum tree - phrase meaning and origin

Up a gum tree – phrase meaning and origin

Posted by TheFallen on June 16, 2003In Reply to: Possum up a gum tree posted
by James Briggs on June 14, 2003See also – the meaning and origin of the saying ‘Up a gum tree’. ::: What is the origin of the saying stuck up a gum tree? I
don’t think that it is anything to do with trees and sap and animals
getting stuck to the sticky sap. I think that it is something to
do with the river Gomti in India and an English garisson being sieged:: The closest saying I can find is “like a possum up a gum tree, ”
in Eric Partridge, Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day.
Mr. Partridge says this::: “An Australian catchphrase applicable to a person exceptionally,
or completely, happy: C20…. Clearly rural in origin, opossums
being arboreal marsupials; and a gum tree being a eucalypt; and
gum tree[, ] this engaging creature’s natural habitat. “: My understanding of the phrase is that ‘He’s up a gum [email protected] implies
that someone is at a loss, in a bit of difficulty or to be virtually
stuck on some project or other. The origin is suggested that the
saying may be an allusion to the gum tree being a refuge for the
opossum, an animal which feigns death by lying still and is therefore
apparently stuck up the understanding matches James’s – to be “up a gum tree” means
having no viable courses of action left, to be stumped or, to use
a similar expression “to be up the creek without a paddle” expression is certainly known in the UK, though by now it’s
definitely old-fashioned, being the sort of thing my mother would
say. However, the phrase’s point of origin is clouded, with various
sources claiming either the USA or Australia, both of which have
gum trees. Only the USA has possums though, which oddly enough is
the only marsupial family living outside Australia/New Guinea. So,
if the full expression is “like a possum up a gum tree”, then the
US claim looks to be the most ever, there is an earlier expression now fallen into disuse
that is simply “up a tree”, which means exactly the same thing –
having nowhere to run – and which is clearly taken from the world
of hunting. It may be that the “gum” part was added later as an
intensifier to the image because being up a tree would be bad enough,
but being up a gum tree, with its gluey sap further hindering movement
would be even also – the meaning and origin of the saying ‘Up a gum tree’.

Frequently Asked Questions about up a gum tree

What does up a gum tree mean?

Definition of up a gum tree British, informal. : in a very difficult situation that one cannot get out of If they don’t deliver the parts we need, we’ll really be up a gum tree!

Where does the phrase stuck up a gum tree come from?

The origin is suggested that the saying may be an allusion to the gum tree being a refuge for the opossum, an animal which feigns death by lying still and is therefore apparently stuck up the tree.Jun 16, 2003

What is up a tree?

In a difficult situation, as in They found the drugs in his suitcase, so he was up a tree. This expression alludes to an animal, such as a raccoon or squirrel, that climbs a tree for refuge from attackers, which then surround the tree so it cannot come down. [ Colloquial; early 1800s] See also: tree, up.

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