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Re: "Between the Devil and the deep blue sea"

Posted by ESC on July 28, 2005

In Reply to: "Between the Devil and the deep blue sea" posted by URSULA on July 28, 2005

: What does the phrase "Between the Devil and the deep blue sea" mean? It shows up in songs of all generations, and many other place... what is the origin?

It's a nautical term. You can access previous discussions by search the archives -- "devil blue sea." Or go to http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/7/messages/262.html

One reference says:

BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA - "Between equally dangerous options. The expression is of nautical origin where 'the devil' means the seam on a ship's deck nearest its side. Hence, anyone who found himself between the devil and the waterline of a ship or the deep blue sea had a very narrow margin for choice." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). Page 29.