Posted by James Briggs on December 05, 2002
In Reply to: Pea soup(er) posted by TheFallen on December 04, 2002
: : : is there a phrase that has pea soup in it, for being in trouble maybe?
: : Not that I know of. "In the soup" is a slang phrase for being in trouble.
: A pea souper is an expression used to describe a particularly dense fog - and I think I've heard the comparative phrase "as thick as pea soup" as well, but this may be memory playing tricks. However, neither phrase is directly connected to being in trouble.
In the soup is an expression used to imply that someone is in trouble. The origin goes back to the potato famine in 1840s Ireland. Such was the famine that soup kitchens in Dublin were vital; however, in order to be given soup, Irish families had to give up Catholicism and also Anglicise their names - O'Donohue became Donohue for instance. The Irish hated this, but were so hungry that many families were forced to be in the soup.