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Prepositional phraseEdit

up a tree

  1. (idiomatic, dated) In or into a disadvantaged or difficult situation; at a loss; cornered.
    • 1864, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Uncle Silas, ch. 53:
      "I'm a bit up a tree, Miss," he said shuffling his feet on the oak floor. "I behaved a d


    • 1891, Laura E. Richards, Hildegarde's Holiday, ch. 14:
      I found the doctor in his study, and the whole room full of rods and lines and reels. . . . When he called me to come and look at his flies I was all up a tree, and didn't know what he was talking about.
    • 1894, Robert Barr, In the Midst of Alarms, ch. 7:
      "Oh, I'm up a tree again. I see I don't even know the A B C of this business."
    • 1904, O. Henry, "The Handbook of Hymen" in Heart of the West:
      "You're a liar," says I, a little riled that Idaho should try to put me up a tree.
    • 1909, P. G. Wodehouse, Mike: A Public School Story, ch. 40:
      The general consensus of opinion in Outwood's during the luncheon interval was that, having got Downing's up a tree, they would be fools not to make the most of the situation.