on the ropes
- (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, by extension) Showing signs of imminent failure or collapse.
- After a good start in the stock market, this company seems to be on the ropes.
leaning against the ropes of the boxing ring, as when exhausted and nearing defeat or collapse
showing signs of imminent failure or collapse