Definition of keep one's head above water in English:

keep one's head above water


  • Avoid succumbing to difficulties, typically debt.

    ‘We have managed to keep our head above water in the last 24 months despite increasingly difficult market conditions.’
    • ‘Nearly every week there's something else; you find you're constantly in debt and always borrowing to keep your head above water.’
    • ‘Lots of things were going through my head, and I wasn't speaking to anyone, and then when the manager came up and said that, it keeps your head above water, and gives you a wee bit of extra determination.’
    • ‘But I took an evening job and just about kept my head above water.’
    • ‘And those people are not - they are having a hard time keeping their head above water.’
    • ‘They know that one person's dime's worth of difference is another person's dollar's worth and that that dollar's worth can be the difference between keeping one's head above water or not.’
    • ‘The cumulative effect is that merely keeping one's head above water, rather than getting ahead, has become the top priority for Americans between the ages of 18 and 34.’
    • ‘Listen, I - I'm having enough trouble keeping my head above water without deciding what they should be doing in the sports department.’
    • ‘It's all you can do to keep your head above water sometimes.’
    • ‘One does have to work like the devil in order to keep your head above water in this country… or death by drowning is sure to happen with our economic climate.’
    manage, survive, subsist, look after oneself, fend for oneself, shift for oneself, stand on one's own two feet, carry on, get through, get on, get along, get by, muddle through, muddle along, scrape by, bear up, make the grade, come through, hold one's own, keep one's end up, keep one's head above water, keep the wolf from the door, weather the storm