Idiom:  out of one’s depth


Idiom:  out of one’s depth

  • not knowing a lot about something
  • in a situation where you are not well prepared
  • in a situation where you don't have the right qualifications or ability

Note: The literal meaning of out of one's depth describes water that's higher than a person's head (e.g., in a swimming pool). The idiom therefore describes a difficult situation someone would have great difficulty handling.

Example sentences

— I took several yoga classes at my gym but when I went to the yoga retreat I was out of my depth.

— My son felt so out of his depth in the fifth grade that we hired a private tutor and had him attend summer school to repeat some of his studies.

— Don't worry. It's common to feel out of your depth after moving to a new country. 

— Our company realized we were out of our depth with social media outreach so we've hired an expert to help us understand it and implement a strategy.

— It's so embarrassing how out of her depth she is on the debate team.

— We adopted a dog from the shelter and we're out of our depth. Could you help us find a trainer as soon as possible?

— I've never felt more out of my depth than when trying to learn Chinese.

— My husband and I were out of our depth playing 4.0 level tennis so we moved back to 3.5 and are winning matches again.

— My daughter wanted to join the advanced swimming class but the coach felt she would be out of her depth. She's one of the best swimmers in her intermediate class so she's happy.

— You're out of your depth now but if you do extra work over the next two weeks you'll catch up with the others.

— Don't you think you'll be out of your depth at an Ivy League school?

— I may be poor but that doesn't mean I'd be out of my depth at Yale University. I graduated at the top of my class in high school.


  • out of one's league
  • over one's head

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