Swimming is to propel your body through water using your arms and legs. There are many different types of strokes such as breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly stroke. For a competition, swimming can be a race, diving or even a synchronised group routine.​​

swimming idioms and expressions

Many idioms originated from swimming and here is a list of them with examples.

  • dive in
    meaning – start doing something enthusiastically
    example – Dinner’s on the table, dive in before it’s all gone.
  • get along swimmingly
    meaning – be friendly with another person, get on well
    example – Don’t worry about the kids, they’re getting along swimmingly.
  • in deep water
    meaning – in difficulty/trouble
    example – I’ve been summoned to the school. Lilly is in deep water.
  • jump in feet first
    meaning – do something quickly without hesitating or panicking
    example – Starting a new school is scary, jump in feet first and you’ll be fine.
  • jump in with both feet
    meaning – start doing something enthusiastically    Louis is a great addition to the team, example – he jumped in with both feet.
  • keep one’s head above water
    meaning – survive in difficult times, especially with money
    example – The first part of the year was difficult, now we’re keeping our heads above water.
  • nosedive
    meaning – rapidly begin to fail/decrease
    example – Our profits have nosedived in the last quarter. We’re in trouble.
  • out of one’s depth
    meaning – not have enough knowledge
    example – Wendy has started a job at a top law firm. I think she’s out of her depth.
  • sink or swim
    meaning – fail or succeed
    example – I finally kicked my son out. His behaviour was terrible. It’s sink or swim now.
  • swim against the tide
    meaning – not follow what everyone else is doing
    example – We can’t swim against the tide, we need to give the consumers what they want.
  • test the water
    meaning – try and find out people’s reaction before deciding to do something
    example – A fund-raising day might be an option. I’ll test the water before arranging anything.
  • throw in at the deep end
    meaning – make someone do something difficult without preparing them for it
    example – I’ve never baked, and I’ve got to make a wedding cake. I’m being thrown in at the deep end.

Swimming idioms and expressions – picture examples

swimming idioms and phrases
swimming sayings - dive in
swimming sayings - get along swimmingly
swimming sayings - in deep water
swimming phrases - jump in feet first
swimming phrases - jump in with both feet
swimming phrases - keep one’s head above water
swimming phrases - nosedive
swimming phrases - out of one’s depth
swimming idioms - sink or swim
swimming idioms - swim against the tide
swimming idioms - test the water
swimming idioms - throw in at the deep end

You can download a table of swimming idioms and expressions below.

If you’ve enjoyed this page, don’t forget to check out some more sports idioms by clicking on the links below.