- (boxing, professional wrestling) Leaning against the ropes of the boxing ring, as when exhausted and nearing defeat or collapse.
- The champ had his opponent on the ropes at the end of the third round and knocked him out in the fourth.
- (idiomatic, figuratively) Showing signs of imminent failure or collapse.
- After a good start in the stock market, this company seems to be on the ropes.
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