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Ways We All Can 'Go Off the Deep End'

On July 19m 2020, a diver jumps from the 22-meter-high bridge "Ura e Shenjte" near the town of Gjakova. This was a sign of protest. Police cancelled the 70th traditional annual High Diving competition because of failure to follow COVID safety measures. (Photo Armend NIMANI / AFP)
Ways We All Can 'Go Off the Deep End'
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And now, Words and Their Stories, from VOA Learning English.

That is the sound of someone diving off a diving board and into the deep end of a swimming pool.

The deep end is where the water is the deepest. The water in the deep end is deep enough to dive in head-first.

Diving into the deep water is fun and can make you feel very free. For a second or two, you fly through the air before going into the water below. If the water is deep enough, and the pool rules permit it, it is safe to jump into the deep end. Some people may jump in wildly or without control.

So, it is not surprising that the phrase “off the deep end” has other meanings – besides simply jumping into a swimming pool. We use it in several situations.

If someone has gone off the deep end, they have gone a little crazy! They have lost self-control. They have become angry or excited. When someone goes off the deep end, we can also say they have lost their mind!

Someone crashed into Tony’s car. But don’t tell him until after his birthday party. He loves that car and will go off the deep end when he hears the news.

“Go off the deep end” can also mean that you jump into a project without much preparation or thought. You do something on the spur of the moment – quickly and without thinking about the results.

Did you hear the news about Jake? He met a woman a month ago and they just got married! Talk about jumping off the deep end.

“Going off the deep end” can mean you are acting in a very strange or extreme way. You seem irrational – like in this example.

When my friends saw me laughing to myself, they thought I had dove right off the deep end. I told them that I had just won $10,000. Then they understood my seemingly crazy behavior.

When we go off the deep end, we experience something in the extreme. We often use this expression when talking about strong emotions: love, anger, fear, and sadness.

I have never seen Aisha so in love. She’s really fallen off the deep end over this new guy in her life.

These are things we lose our minds over. We lose emotional control.

Losing his job, apartment, and wife in one month pushed my friend off the deep end. Not surprisingly!

Did you notice the different verbs we use with “off the deep end”? You can dive, fall, jump, or go off the deep end. And sometimes life’s troubles can push you off the deep end!

So, those are the different meanings of the expression “off the deep end” and how we use them. I hope I didn’t give you too many examples. That may push some listeners right off the deep end.

And that’s all the time we have this for this Words and Their Stories. But join us again next week!

Until next time … I’m Anna Matteo!

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.


Words in This Story

diving board –n. a surface above a swimming pool that people can dive from into the water

swimming pool –n. a large hole filled with water for swimming

crazy –adj. unable to think in a clear or sensible way, not sane

spur of the moment –phrase done suddenly or without planning

irrational –adj. not thinking clearly or showing good judgement