Definition of sink or swim in US English:

sink or swim


  • Fail or succeed entirely by one's own efforts.

    • ‘We'll either sink or swim, so let's hope we end the seven days still swimming.’
    • ‘The members of this generation will sink or swim by their own efforts.’
    • ‘Self-destruction - you get to a point where you're either going to sink or swim.’
    • ‘Basically, it's the ‘freedom’ to sink or swim in unassisted isolation from one's indifferent community.’
    • ‘It was a case of sink or swim, we were producing organic milk and the price halved.’
    • ‘All over America, single mothers with nothing like the advantages or prospects of Jeff, Lou and Tom are being told to sink or swim, and their children along with them.’
    • ‘It was sink or swim when we bought Lacken House and Breda qualified as a Sommelier a few years after.’
    • ‘Win or lose, sink or swim, one thing is certain we'll never give in.’
    • ‘Films sink or swim by the combination of actors and writers and in this case the entire production goes belly up because neither team brings out anything truly remarkable.’
    • ‘The state is optimistic that if people are faced with sink or swim, they will swim.’