All at Sea

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History and Meaning

“All at sea” is an idiomatic expression that dates back to the 1600s. The phrase originally referred to a sailor who was lost or confused at sea and didn’t know which direction to go. Over time, the phrase came to be used to describe someone who is disoriented, confused, or uncertain about what to do.


  • “After the accident, I was all at sea and didn’t know how to proceed.”
  • “I’m starting a new job tomorrow and I’m feeling all at sea. I’m not sure what to expect.”

The phrase “all at sea” is commonly used in spoken and written English, especially in British English. It is often used to describe a situation where someone is feeling lost, bewildered, or out of their depth. It can also be used to describe a situation where someone is struggling to make sense of something or to find their way forward.

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Dr. James Morrison
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