The idiomatic phrase “grasping at straws” may be a popular phrase you hear or see used today in everyday conversation and writing. Here you will find the meaning of this phrase and information regarding its origin. You will also find examples of how to properly use this phrase in conversations/statements and discover other ways to say this phrase that will still convey the same meaning.
Grasping At Straws
Grasping At Straws Meaning
The idiomatic phrase “grasping at straws” means to try desperately to save yourself in a conversation or argument by continuing to bring up additional things that you believe will prove your argument, but have very little to do with the situation at hand. It describes the act of being desperate in a time of need.
Origin of the idiomatic expression
The origin of this interesting idiom can be traced back to the year 1534. In his work titled A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, author Thomas More said that a man will do anything to save himself from drowning and grasp for any object, including a straw. From this comparison, the phrase as we know it today was born. It has been widely used ever since.
“Grasping At Straws” Examples
A statement made a politician after winning the election.
- “I knew I was going to win. My opponent was simply grasping at straws this past week trying desperately to gain some momentum.”
A statement made by a politician after recently winning the election.
- “I knew I would win. It was plain to see my opponent was simply grasping at straws this past week trying desperately to gain momentum.”
A conversation between two friends.
- Friend 1: Can you believe Karen just kept going on and on yesterday trying to defend herself.
- Friend 2: I know! She was caught in the act!
- Friend 1: Exactly! She was just grasping at straws trying desperately to get out of trouble! Sad.
A conversation between two co-workers.
- Co-worker 1: We need to find a real solution to this problem we are facing.
- Co-worker 2: You are right. We need to get everyone back on the same pages and focused.
- Co-worker 1: Yes, until we do that we mine as well just be grasping at straws because nothing is getting done when it needs to be.
Other Ways to Say “Grasping At Straws”
Like other idiomatic phrases, the phrase “grasping at straws” has many things you can say alternatively to convey the same meaning. Other things you could say in place of this phrase include:
- Trying desperately
- Wouldn’t stop trying
- Wouldn’t give up