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touch bottom

Reach the lowest point, as in During the recession the economists kept saying that we hadn't touched bottom yet. This metaphor for reaching the ground under a body of water has been used since the mid-1800s.
The American HeritageĀ® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright Ā© 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Examples from the Web for touch bottom
Historical Examples
  • It is truly a deep sea, he says, in which it is impossible to touch bottom.

  • Nowhere could I touch bottom or find any hope of solid foothold.

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Here, too, soundings of seventeen hundred feet have been necessary to touch bottom.

    The Columbia River William Denison Lyman
  • They had been carried into deep water, where the tallest of them could not touch bottom.

    The Boy Slaves Mayne Reid
  • The island might touch bottom when it had only gone down, say, a hundred feet.

  • Longshanks reached down as far as he could but not far enough to touch bottom.

    Czechoslovak Fairy Tales Parker Fillmore
  • Over there, on the outer curve of the bend, the longest pole will not touch bottom.

    An American at Oxford John Corbin
  • "But I'm just going to touch bottom," the tall digger expostulated.

    Denis Dent Ernest W. Hornung
  • At last he gave up trying to make it behave, and swam, pushing it before him, until he could touch bottom with his feet.

    Peter Cotterell's Treasure Rupert Sargent Holland
  • Perhaps we can touch bottom, and you can wade if you can't swim.

    Campmates Kirk Munroe

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