Ocean and sea idioms

These ocean and sea idioms are often used in everyday conversational English.

An infographic with icons for the 8 ocean and sea idioms listed on the page. Definitions and a sentence example are given for each idiom.

An idiom is a fixed phrase that doesn't change and the meaning is metaphorical rather than literal so you cannot usually know the meaning from looking at the individual words. 

To make it easier for you to learn them, I created different lists of idioms and infographics to help you as you study English idioms.

More examples of ocean and sea idioms

Here are more examples to help make the meaning of these ocean and sea idioms even clearer. Click the links on each idiom to read even MORE examples:

a drop in the ocean:  A small amount of what is needed (especially compared to a larger amount of something).

  • Example:  Today there was a brief rain shower but it was a drop in the ocean of the rain needed to put out the wildfires.

sink or swim: To succeed or fail by your own efforts.

  • Example:  Sometimes it's heartbreaking but I find it's best to let my children sink or swim in most things in life.

washed up: Someone's career is no longer successful.

  • Example:  It's very common to see washed-up actors trying to become directors later in their careers.

sea change:  A complete change or transformation.

  • Example:  There's been a sea change in thinking about sexual harassment and assault since the "Me too" and "Time's up" movements.

between the devil and the deep blue sea:  In a difficult and inescapable situation.

  • Example:  I'm caught between the devil and the deep blue sea because two of my best friends are getting married the same day and want me to be their maid of honor.

make waves:  To shock or to upset people by doing things in a different way.

  • Example:  My son is very outspoken and is always making waves at school.

a whale of a time:  To really enjoy oneself.

  • Example:  I love going to my high school reunions—we always have a whale of a time.

other fish in the sea:  There are many other suitable romantic partners.

  • Example:  Who cares if he didn't call you back.  There are other fish in the sea.

Get our free idioms in pictures ebook

You might like these other idiom infographics

Learning idioms is vital for understanding everyday spoken English. Signup for my free newsletter to learn more idioms, get free English lessons and receive information about how to improve your English.

  1. Home Page
  2.  ›
  3. Idioms
  4.  ›
  5. Ocean and sea idioms