phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Further on the 'Soup' theme - 'in the soup'

Posted by James Briggs on May 11, 2001

In the soup is an expression used to imply that someone is in trouble. The origin, as given me by a tour guide in Dublin, goes back to the potato famine in 1840s Ireland. Such was the famine that soup kitchens in Dublin, all run by the British, 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.