What Does Cleft Stick Mean?


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Swarda Padwal Profile
Swarda Padwal answered
Cleft stick is used in a phrasal form. If someone is 'in a cleft stick', he is in a difficult situation and is caught between choices. The person is in a dilemma whether to choose one thing or the other and his situation is rather critical. Such a person has a problem which is very difficult to solve. For example: I'm in a real cleft stick because I can't sell by old room, this phrase has been used since the start of the 20th century. It is probably taken from the action of trapping of snakes. The snakes were pinned down behind their head with a stick which was forked.

The Roget's thesaurus puts out some really beautiful phrases for 'to be in a cleft stick'.
Beset with difficulties, surrounded by difficulties, in a box, in hot water, in difficulty, in the suds, in the wrong box, in a fix, in a scrape, in a fine pickle are some of the expressions provided by Roget's.

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