to sink or swim

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - sink or swim

"to sink or swim"

to fail or to succeed (with no alternative)


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - sink or swim

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  We really don't have time to train new employees.

Colleague 2:  So, you want to just send them to work and see what happens?

Colleague 1:  Yup. Sink or swim. Either they figure it out or we let them go. There are hundreds of applicants for the job.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - sink or swim

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  You have been talking of going into business for yourself for years now. When are you actually going to take the plunge?

Friend 2:  I have been trying to develop a strategy to reduce my risk but I can't seem to find a way to do that.

Friend 1:  Perhaps you just have to go for it, quit your job and open your business.

Friend 2:  To sink or swim on such a venture is quite frightening. Failing means I would lose everything.

Friend 1:  Oh, but succeeding would mean you would finally achieve your dream.

to sink or swim - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   516   click for frequency by country

to sink or swim - Gerund Form:

Sinking or swimming in the world of academia depends on a professor continuing to publish.

to sink or swim - Examples:

1)  I'm the type of person to just take a leap. Sink or swim.

2)  The weather is challenging. We're farmers without crop insurance -- we sink or swim by Mother Nature.

3)  I think this Government will sink or swim on the basis of how it embraces minority government status and its openness ...

4)  ... not given much training. They're put in the job, and left to sink or swim

5)  ... new school that was in the middle of nowhere, it was a case of sink or swim, so he stopped drinking and set about realising his potential in the ...

6)  ... they are in a very challenging environment and it is about how they sink or swim.

7)  ... the quarterback, the most valuable position in sports, can allow a team to sink or swim on the availability and performance of one player.

8)  ... just doesn't allow you the luxury of working on your weaknesses, it's sink or swim.

9)  ... no parental guidance. Do we kick our kids out of the nest, to sink or swim?

10)  In the world of academic medicine, it's sink or swim.

11)  We are now at the crossroads, of sink or swim, in dealing with this crisis situation.

12)  Whether they will sink or swim in the top-grade environment is unknown.

13)  ... a visceral exhibition of the dog-eat-dog world of commission sales. Sink or swim, success or starvation. No middle ground and no mercy, ...

14)  Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. # Leaving them to sink or swim helps them to develop resilience, resourcefulness and a sense of responsibility.

15)  Now I'm in a position with the band that I'll sink or swim by my own efforts and it's given me a flexibility and freedom ...

16)  ... and the song either sinks or swims depending on if the guys like it, ...

17)  Ultimately, it is your customers who will determine if your startup sinks or swims.

18)  ... fact that the first 24 to 72 hours of a campaign usually determines whether it sinks or swims, ...

19)  A production of Antony and Cleopatra sinks or swims on the strength of its two title characters.

20)  So my son is back in there now, sinking or swimming. Either a weak victim of his own failures, or the target ...