- This phrase may have come from Haslar Creek in Portsmouth harbour, a 'salt' creek (may be origin of alternative 'up a shit creek'). Wounded sailors during Nelson's time, were taken there to be admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar to die or recover. The ship's moored up in the Solent and the wounded soldiers were transported up Haslar creek by tramline hence 'Up the creek without a paddle'. They were held prisoner so that they would not desert while being treated, and some tried to escape by going through the sewers to the creek (another suggested origin of the alternative 'up a shit creek'). Without a paddle this would be hopeless, hence the phrase 'up the creek (without a paddle)' to mean being trapped, stuck or in trouble. Much very obscure navy related jargon entered popular culture in the seafaring peoples of the British Isles, and thus entered the English language as a whole. (Wiktionary)
“Headlamp in hand, Boggins stumped up the creek bed.”
“Len and the other fellow, a chap called Sam Baker, pegged away up the creek as hard as they could go, but feeling pretty blue about catching the swaggie.”
“Loraine Lisznayi takes to the trail, and then went up the creek to give orders for the superintendence of his Bonanza mines during his absence.”
“The reports of our guns had been heard by Captain Meinhold, who at once started with his company up the creek to our aid, and when the remaining Indians, whom we were still fighting, saw these reinforcements coming they whirled their horses and fled; as their steeds were quite fresh they made their escape.”
“Using stones, they weighted down the shelter that covered Nims's body then trudged up the creek without light or conversation, saving their batteries figuratively and literally.”
“Without them the Colony'd be up the creek without a paddle.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘up the creek’.
hack someone off, scrape the bottom..., haul over the coals, rake over the coals, have a thin time, down one's alley, up one's alley, shoot the bull, bite the bullet, up the creek, cudgel one' brains, plain as a pikestaff and 156 more...
not corresponding to a specific physical location
at the end of one..., at one's wits end, up the creek, round the bend, on cloud nine, in the doldrums, in cloud-cuckoo land, sold down the river, on a slow boat to..., in a brown study, down the rabbit hole, in a rut and 84 more...
Looking for tweets for up the creek.