Definition of up the river in English:

up the river

phrase

informal North American
  • To or in prison.

    • ‘we were lucky not to be sent up the river that time boy’
    • ‘You're indicted, convicted and sent up the river.’
    • ‘Let me be on record as being strongly opposed to sending Limbaugh up the river, even though that is the penalty he wished to inflict on others.’
    • ‘They're sent up the river for ‘life,’ having all the time in the world to spend together.’
    • ‘The government wants you to know that violating its law can send you up the river.’
    • ‘Isn't having a code what generally got all the film noir protagonists sent up the river?’

    Origin

    With allusion to Sing Sing prison, situated up the Hudson River from the city of New York.