Idiom:  sink or swim


Idiom:  sink or swim

  • to succeed or fail by your own efforts

Note:  This is often used to say that although somebody may succeed or fail, they will still try to do something with determination.

Example sentences

  • Sometimes it's heartbreaking but I find it's best to let my children sink or swim in most things in life.
  • People often find out just how strong they are when they're forced to sink or swim.
  • On the first day, before any training, we give the interns a project to complete to see if they will sink or swim.  Most fail, but we are more interested in their attitude during the process.
  • It's better to try something and sink or swim then to wait around worrying about what will happen.
  • Personally, I'd rather sink or swim than do nothing at all. 
  • I've been training for a marathon for the past six months and the time has finally come to sink or swim
  • We persuaded our son to enter a tennis tournament and just let himself sink or swim.  Well, he sunk but he also said losing wasn't so bad and he would try again.
  • I'll be traveling all by myself in China for two weeks so I will either sink or swim.


  • do or die
  • crunch time
  • moment of truth
  • point of no return

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