A person who is in a critical situation will try to save himself by taking the support of any feeble and frail thing. A man who is on the verge of going to ruins finds even a little help to be of immense use just as a drowning man seeks the support of a straw. A straw is very feeble and it cannot bear the weight of a man. But a person who has fallen into a deep river and is drowning will desperately catch a floating straw. He will not think then that he is doing a silly thing. He thought then will be to clutch at anything that will seem to save him. A little help from outside enables a man afflicted with misery to come out victorious. A person faced with a serious problem will grab at any opportunity in the hope of solving it. He doesn’t then think whether it is a big chance or a small one. Nothing in this world is insignificant. An apparently worthless thing may turn out to be the most helping factor to a man. What appears to us useless and petty may prove to be a saving factor. We tend to regard some people as silly and some small things as useless and insignificant so long as we have power and wealth and human support. But, when once all these disappear and we are faced with ruin, these very significant people and things which we have earlier despised prove to be decisive factors in our existence.
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English proverbs – Best Quotes – Sayings – A drowning man catches a straw
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a drowning man clutch at a straw
- It refers to the desperate measures that someone in need may make in order to come out of the situation.
- Often refers to a dire situation where even if the hope is flimsy, a person may opt for it.
- Although there was no possibility of success he tried his hand at this interview to get a job because a downing man will even clutch at a straw.
- She seems to be in terrible pain but the doctor has confirmed more pain for a few weeks after the surgery. She is still going to get the surgery done because a drowning man will clutch at straws, she just wants the pain to end someday.
The origin of this phrase dates back to 1382 when John Wycliffe translated the Bible in the English language. The phrase has changed from clutch to catch to grasp ever since. The use of the word straw in this phrase refers to the unlikelihood of finding success at using it because of its flimsy nature. But the point is to demonstrate that even a flimsy option is worth taking or sometimes just taken as a desperate measure.
Grasp at straw instead of clutching is more popular in the United States.
‘Don’t give/care a straw’ is used as a sign of indifference and a ‘man of straw’ was a frail enemy. Other phrases with straw is to ‘condemn someone to straw’ meant to say that they should be taken to a mad house.
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