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The meaning and origin of the expression: High and dry

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High and dry

Meaning

Stranded, without help or hope of recovery.

Origin

This term originally referred to ships that were beached. The 'dry' implies that, not only were they out of the water, but had been for some time and could be expected to remain so. It was used in a 'Ship News' column in The [London] Times, August 1796:

"The Russian frigate Archipelago, yesterday got aground below the Nore at high water, which; when the tide had ebbed, left her nearly high and dry."

See other Nautical Phrases.