To Be over a Barrel (Origin)
What Is the Origin of the Saying "To Be over a Barrel"?To have someone over the barrel means to have someone totally at your mercy. It is a nautical term, which probably derives from two practices:
- Hanging a drowned, usually unconscious person over a barrel to clear their lungs of water.
- Using a barrel as a stage for a disciplinary flogging.
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- English Proverbs and Idioms Test
- More Proverbs, Sayings, and Idioms
Examples of Use:
- She's had me over a barrel since she learned about the affair.
- My boss has me over a barrel because he knows I need the money.
- I hate to put you over a barrel, but you have to choose.