‘to have both oars in the water’: meaning and origin

USA, 1977—to be mentally stable—usually depreciatively in negative contexts, as ‘not to have both oars in the water’—refers to the necessity of dipping both the oars into the water to keep a rowing boat steady and steer it in a straight line

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‘zero tolerance’: meanings and early occurrences

USA—1940: a policy of non-acceptance with regard to a specified situation, activity, result, substance, etc.—1971: a policy of non-acceptance with regard to abusive, anti-social or criminal behaviour, especially the use of illegal drugs

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