This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

What’s it like to be in a pickle? Is it a problem similar to Jonah’s after a huge gray whale swallowed him when he ran from God rather than do His bidding? Jonah lived in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights before he was spewed back onto dry land, very much alive and in good health, praising the Lord and ready to serve Him without question. During the time he was in the whale I’ll bet he was scared but it gave him time to think about why he was there in the first place.

Naw, can’t be that. For one, pickles are green. Wrong color. Secondly, pickles are too small to swallow a man – in fact that’s just plain silly.

We all have heard the term “in a pickle” and we know it means to be in some sort of file0001359828610position to which no easy answer can be found.

Here’s the history of being ‘in a pickle.’ It was first coined by the Dutch from the word “pekel” and referred to a vinegar mixture that was spiced and salted and used as a preservative. It was many years before actual pickles (mainly gherkins) were thrown into the solution and became a favorite snack. Throughout history the idiom took hold and it is a fairly well used phrase yet today, when someone is speaking of being in trouble with no foreseeable way out.

Shakespeare used the expression first in the English language in the year 1611 in ‘The Tempest.’ Of course, the Dutch had used it for many years prior.

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I’ve been in a pickle before. I’ve had a major problem and no matter how hard I strategize or use critical thinking I can’t think of an answer that will be a good solution. So what do I do when I’m ‘in a pickle?’

Being ‘in a pickle’ can be frustrating if you let it. But if you slow down, do some research, maybe ask a friend or two and anyone you can find who is an expert on the subject, there’s a good chance you’ll solve the problem.

file891249393942Although I found no truth to this statement as I researched the idiom, what I did find made me wonder whether or not in early Deutschland it might have been a punishment to be ‘in a pickle’ by an offender either being doused with the brew or having to stay in it for a period of time.

I guess being ‘in a pickle’ is not fun, so I believe I’ll put this post and my research on the shelf. How about you? Ever been in a pickle? How about a whale?


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25 thoughts on “IN A PICKLE?

  1. What a pickle, finding a phrase and searching origins that don’t show up easily. Just joking. Great post. Now to get out the pickle I’ve made for myself.

    Still smiling at this one Linda. Thank you, it was needed today. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun post. Love finding out the origins of old sayings. Interestingly, I’ve understood it to refer to a minor problem, rather than a big deal. Something that may take some work to solve but not terribly serious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks you Kate. Most of what I read indicated being ‘in a pickle’ was something that is very hard to find an answer to or get out of. I did read one article that said it referred to a minor problem. I suppose it’s all in the interpretation.


  3. I’m like Kate. I think of it as being in a tricky situation that doesn’t have terrible consequences; something confusing or frustrating. I love phrase origins. Although I don’t love pickles. Literally and figuratively. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to eat pickles but I don’t care to be ‘in a pickle.’ As I said to Kate, I did find one article that said the problem was one without serious consequences; however, most of what I researched said the problem was large and very difficult to resolve. Confusing and frustrating could definitely fit in that category don’t you think? Thank you for commenting!


  4. Great post, Linda! Yes, I’ve been in many pickles in my life — I think the idea of stepping back, taking a deep breath, and not rushing into something is the best way to handle pickles. And, I’m thankful I’ve never been in a whale’s belly — I think that would be much worse, and more scary, than being in a pickle! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I’d prefer to be ‘in a pickle’ than in a whale’s belly. As a kid I thought that was a pretty scary story, even though my Sunday School teacher explained it well. I’ve been in a lot of pickles but like I said, stepping back and not rushing in helps me make the right decision. Thanks for commenting!


  5. Hello Linda, Enjoyed it. I’ve been in many a pickle, yet once the moment passes it doesn’t seem as intense as I thought it was. The other day I was feeling surly and sorry for myself, then I heard a friend’s son had passed. I felt like an ungrateful idiot. Things aren’t so bad and they could be unfathomably worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t that the truth! I’ve had the exact same type of thing happen to me and when I see or hear of someone in worse shape I always feel ashamed of myself. Pickles can always be worse than they seem, but some things, like the passing of a loved one is permanent. Thanks for the comment!


  6. Reminds me of my kid days. In Rialto, California, we loved playing baseball. Sometimes we’d set up to makeshift bases for second and third base. Then we’d come up with a third baseman and a second baseman, and of course the base runner. Here’s how it worked. The runner would allow himself to get caught in no-man’s land. The objective for the second and third basemen were to run him down and tag him. And the base runner hoped they’d make a mistake and he could make it to a base without getting tagged. We had a name for it: Caught in a pickle.


  7. Love it! If you think about it, it’s the same thing. Kids come up with the grandest games and phrases. My brother and sisters and I built an igloo one winter and we had to slide into a hole and down into the structure. It was so much fun and we came up with the phrase PDQ when we saw a car coming down the road, at which time we’d all slide to safety. What fun! Thanks for commenting Mike.


  8. I’m often in a pickle or in hot water. or up a creek. LOL I couldn’t imagine being in a Whale’s Belly, but still when Jonah got out he still complained. I am going to go eat a pickle right now. Fun Post. Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Up a creek” is an idiom I’ve heard all my life. But in our neck of the woods we say ‘crick’. My husband always corrects me and says a crick is in your neck and a creek has water running through it, but I ignore him. Hope the pickle was good! lol


    1. Me too, Kathy. I thought it interesting that gherkins were the first pickles made – I would have definitely thought it would be dill. Plus if you’re in a pickle and it’s a gherkin, wouldn’t the experience be sweet, and the dill sour? I know I’m pickle brain-fried!


  9. I’ve been in pickles but can usually think my way through them fairly calmly. I do love to eat pickles as well but not every day! Researching words and phrases could be an all day occupation that I’d love but then my procrastination would mean a pickle to get back on track! Great post, Linda!


  10. To me the phrase, being in a pickle depicts someone with their hand stuck in a pickle jar. Sorry I had to share that. I think we have all faced situations that seem to have no easy answer. Your advice to slow down and discuss the situation with a friend is good advice


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