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'.
Judge rules unused Borders gift cards to be worthless(May 23 2013) Borders owes nothing to holders of roughly $210.5 million of gift cards that had not been used by the time the bookstore chain shut down, a Manhattan federal...