"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 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.