Paint oneself into a corner



verb phrase

To put oneself into a frustrating or helpless situation: Paul has painted himself into a corner with that unlikely explanation (1980s+)
Get oneself into a difficulty from which one can’t extricate oneself. For example, By volunteering to do more work in the office and then taking a freelance job, George has painted himself into a corner. This idiom uses the graphic image of painting all of the floor except for the corner one stands in, so that one cannot leave without stepping on wet paint.

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  • Paint-pot

    noun 1. Also, paintpot. a container, as a jar, pail, or bucket, for holding paint while it is being applied. 2. Geology. a spring or pit filled with boiling colored mud.

  • Paint-roller

    noun 1. a roller of absorbent material, mounted on a handle, that is rolled in a trough of paint and then rolled over a flat surface to be painted.



  • Paint stripper

    noun 1. a liquid, often caustic, used to remove paint from a surface

  • Paintwork

    /ˈpeɪntˌwɜːk/ noun 1. a surface, such as wood or a car body, that is painted



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