IN A MARINER’S WORDS
“ÊTRE DANS LE CREUX DE LA VAGUE”
“I worked so hard yesterday that I have woken up this morning at the bottom of the wave, with little strength to do anything.”
“Être dans le creux de la vague” is a French expression meaning that someone or something is in a bad situation or has reached a lowest point. In English, the expression loosely translates into “hitting the bottom of the wave” or, sometimes, “bottoming out,” which more specifically refers to reaching a lowest or worst point usually before beginning to rise or improve.
In the nautical world, a wave is a moving ridge or swell on the surface of the sea. The high point of the wave is the crest. In popular imagination, the crest represents dynamism and energy. At the other end of the scale, in between two crests, is the trough of the wave, or the low point. The bottom of the wave makes us think of a collapse or a fall – or that we have reached a low point. As such, the expression is often used to describe an adverse personal or financial situation.
Check out the nautical roots of other great expressions in French at http://www.linternaute.com/mer-voile/magazine/1041150-ces-expressions-nees-de-la-mer/.