A situation that has stalled with no action being taken.
The expression refers to a disabled ship that is unable to proceed. Its use as an expression outside the confines of the naval/seagoing world appears to be relatively recent and originates from America. For example, the Boston Globe wrote in 1980 "For Arthur Lane, perennial president of the Boston Shipping Association, the Port of Boston is 'lying dead in the water'", and in 1982 then Treasury Secretary Donald Regan described the national economy as being 'dead in the water'.
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Southern Gothic fantasy with a contemporary flare set in Savannah
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Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.