At Sea


      • feeling lost or confused
        To describe a state of confusion or uncertainty, often in a new or unfamiliar situation

      • on a ship
        To be aboard a ship, especially when far from land

    Examples of At Sea

    • She's been at sea with that relationship for months now.

      This idiom means that she has been dealing with the same difficult situation for a long time, just like a ship is at sea when it's travelling through open water for an extended period of time.

    • He's been feeling at sea ever since the company downsized.

      This idiom means that the person feels lost, uncertain or confused in a new or unfamiliar situation, just like a sailor might feel disoriented or uncertain when he's far away from shore and can't see any recognizable landmarks.

    • It's been at sea for several weeks now.

      This idiom is more literal and is typically used to describe a ship that is currently travelling through open water, far away from any land or ports.

    • She felt completely at sea when the teacher started speaking in a foreign language.

      This idiom means that the person doesn't understand what's being said or feels lost or disoriented when faced with a new and unfamiliar situation, just like a sailor might feel at sea when he's far away from any recognizable landmarks or when he's trying to navigate through an unknown or foreign language.

    • The company's financial situation is currently at sea. They are facing uncertain times and it's unclear which direction they will be headed.

      This idiom is used when a situation is uncertain or unpredictable, much like being out at sea without any land in sight. It implies that there is a lack of clarity or direction, and that the outcome is unknown.

    • After the shocking twist in the plot, the audience is left at sea. They're trying to piece together what just happened and what it might mean for the rest of the story.

      This example illustrates how the idiom can be used to describe a reaction to a surprising or confusing event. It suggests that people are feeling disoriented or uncertain about what has unfolded.

    • The project is at sea because there's been a disagreement between the stakeholders about the proposed solution. They're struggling to find a way forward and it's not clear which path they should take.

      This usage shows how the phrase can signify a disagreement or conflict that has left everyone unsure about what action to take. It highlights the difficulty of making a decision when there are differing views or opinions to consider.

    • The negotiation ended with both parties at sea. They were unable to come to a conclusion and left without a resolution.

      This example demonstrates how the idiom can be used to describe a situation in which both parties are equally uncertain about what should happen next. It implies that neither side has gained the upper hand or been able to establish their position.


    "At Sea" can be used to describe both a mental state of confusion and being aboard a ship. When someone feels at sea, they are unsure or confused about something, similar to how a person might feel when lost at sea with no clear direction. This can happen in new or unfamiliar situations where someone may feel out of their depth. On the other hand, being at sea can simply refer to being on a ship, away from land and navigating the waters.

    Origin of "At Sea"

    The origin of the phrase "at sea" dates back to the 17th century and is derived from the literal sense of being on a ship in the open sea. The phrase was used to describe the feeling of being lost or adrift, similar to how a ship might feel when it has lost its way. Over time, the phrase evolved to also encompass the metaphorical sense of feeling lost or confused in a non-nautical context. Today, "at sea" is commonly used to convey a sense of being adrift or uncertain in various situations. For example, someone might feel at sea when starting a new job or navigating a complex problem.