English Idioms Daily Blog

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Choppy Waters

Literally, the term choppy waters refers to a rough or agitated body of water. You can see what choppy waters are in the following AlJazeera video that looks at some Cuban migrants who have faced choppy waters in an effort to leave their country:

Idiomatically speaking, however, this English expression refers to
difficult, volatile or uncertain times . For some examples of how the English idiom choppy waters can be used, have a look at the following news headlines:

Apple heads into choppy waters as new iPhone awaited
- reuters.com, 23 July 2012, Poornima Gupta
Global Shipping Prices Face More Choppy Waters
- onlinewsj.com, 2 February 2012, Francesca Freeman & Diana Kinch
Kayak IPO: Readying for Choppy Waters
- cnbc.com, 9 July 2012, Jesse Bergman

As you can see, one can
head into, face or be readying for choppy waters, i.e. times of trouble, instability or uncertainty. Likewise, one can also sail into or navigate choppy waters. Here are some sample sentences:

The world’s shipbuilders have
sailed into choppy waters.
It looks like we are
facing choppy waters.
The author hopes to help cancer sufferers
navigate choppy waters.

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