AE 655.1 – Expression: In Hot Water

Learn Australian English in this Expression episode of Aussie English where I teach you how to use IN HOT WATER like a native speaker.

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Australian history is inextricably linked to the grim story of the rope. The penal colony's first hanging in 1788 was a grisly spectacle attended by the entire population. The last was a private affair, complete with macabre, gilt-edged invitations. This is the story of the last man hanged in Australia. He was Ronald Joseph Ryan. There were 14 of us pressmen present representing the people at what was still, in effect, a public execution. I was writing for the Sydney Sun a better paper then than it became. I watched him die at 8 o'clock on the morning of February 3rd, 1967, in Her Majesty's Prison, Pentridge, Melbourne.

G'day, guys, and welcome to Aussie English. My objective here is to teach you guys the English spoken Down Under. So, whether you want to speak like a fair dinkum Aussie or you just want to understand what the flipping hell we're on about when we're having a yarn, you've come to the right place. So, sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy Aussie English.

G'day, you mob. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. I hope that all of you are well and not sick, not under the weather. I think I'm feeling a cold coming on and I am definitely hoping that it is not COVID-19, but who knows. At this stage, it seems like it's something that we are all going to get eventually. Anyway, wherever you are in the world, guys, I wish you all the best and hope that you and your family and loved ones get through this time, this pandemic now unscathed, all healthy.

So, the intro scene there at the start was a clip from a documentary on Ronald Ryan that was on YouTube. So, I'll link that in the transcript, guys. Ronald Ryan was the last man in Australia to be executed. So, today I'm going to be talking about the history of corporal and capital punishment in the Aussie fact episode. So, make sure that you stick around for that as it's an interesting story and a big part of Australian history. So, G'day, guys. Welcome to this episode if you are first time listener, it's great to have you with us, welcome.

Kick back, relax. This is Aussie English, the number one podcast for anyone wanting to learn Australian English culture, news and current affairs and history. You know, you want to integrate into Australian life, you want to focus on your Aussie accent, everything like that. This is the podcast for you and it is aimed at intermediate to advanced learners. So, whether you're learning Australian English or not, this podcast is really going to help you level up your English and take it to the next level, right? Get you to advanced.

If you want the transcripts for these episodes, guys, you want the MP3 downloads, don't forget to sign up for the Premium Podcast membership. And if you would like the Premium Podcast as well as all of my course content, including that for this sort of episode, the expression episodes, the Aussie Fact episodes, the Natural English Dialogue course that I have, the Interview course, the Shadowing course, everything like that, you can sign up to the Academy, which includes the Premium Podcast, just go to

With that aside, guys, let's get into today's episode. So, today the expression was 'in hot water', 'to be in hot water'. I wonder if you guys have ever been in hot water. As a result of it being in hot water, I thought I would try and find an Aussie joke that was related to water or boiling water, ok? So, here is the joke.

What do you get when you pour boiling water down a rabbit hole? Right? A rabbit hole, a rabbit warren, as they're called, where rabbits live.

What do you get if you pour boiling water down a rabbit hole?

Hot cross bunnies.

This joke is probably appropriate because it's almost Easter, and that's a time where in Australia you'll go to places like Bakers Delight or Brumby's, these bakers that are chains around the country where you can buy bread and everything and lots of you will buy hot cross buns. This is, I guess, a religious, it's a religious thing related to Easter, where these little buns have crosses painted on them, they're yeast buns, and they're very tasty. And so they're called hot cross buns.

And so, the joke here is that what do you get when you pour boiling water down a rabbit hole? Hot cross bunnies, in this case, rabbits, bunnies. That's the sort of in term of endearment for rabbits, little bunnies, that are cross, they're angry because they're really hot, right? And hot cross buns, these religious items of food that are sold during Easter. So, I hope you like that joke.

So, today's expression 'in hot water'. Let's go through and define the different words in this expression first, ok? 'In hot water'. He's in hot water, to be 'in hot water'. Obviously, if you're 'in' something, you are within it. You're inside of that thing as opposed to outside of it.

The word 'hot'. I'm sure you guys know what the word hot means. This is having a high degree of heat or high temperature. So, if you get sick from COVID-19 or from any other illness, you'll get a fever and you'll have a hot temperature. You'll have a high temperature, you'll feel hot.

And the last word there, another one that I'm sure that you guys know, 'water'. 'Water'. This is a colourless, transparent, odourless liquid that forms the oceans, the lakes, the rivers and the rain that are present on the Earth. And it's the basis of fluids of all living organisms. It's what you drink, right? I've got some water here next to me, I take a sip of the water, 'water'.

So, let's define the expression 'in hot water'. If you are in hot water, quite simply, this is just to be in trouble, right? Or in disgrace, so if you get into hot water or you're in hot water, you're in trouble. A politician might say something and get into hot water, and they have disgraced themselves, right? They're in a lot of trouble.

So, this one was interesting, I was looking into the origin of this expression and it appears to originate from the 16th century. And it suggests that if you cook something and if by chance you trickle the boiling water on yourself, you will surely be in trouble, right? So, if you pour hot water on yourself whilst cooking something, you're in hot water, you're in trouble.

Alright, so let's go through some examples of how I would use this expression in day to day life. So, as a kid, I'd be able to play in the streets with my mates after school. I'm sure I've probably told you this story before, so we'd often be playing ball sports or footy or cricket or mucking around in some of the paddocks, you know, chasing one another or skateboarding at a local skate park or school, and it was before the time of mobile phones.

So, this was in the 90s where there were no mobile phones, you know, we were all very young, it was before the time, really, that the Internet had also come to, you know, popularity. And so, when we had to come home, at the end of the day, when there was a curfew, the street lights would come on and that would be about 5:00 PM when dinner was, and so my parents would always say, you know, you need to come home when the streetlights come on.

So, if instead of coming home at 5:00 p.m., when the streetlights came on, I decided to stay out for a lot longer, or maybe it took us ages to get home from wherever we were, you know, or having a lot of fun, maybe we forgot to come home or maybe we were inside someone's house and didn't see that the lights had come on or that it was dark outside, you know, we're playing a video game or something, we got carried away and we got home late, we'd be in hot water, so we'd broken curfew. Mum and dad would probably be pissed, you know, that we'd gotten home late. They probably wanted to have dinner and so we'd be in hot water.

Example number two, politicians often get into hot water when they say something wrong or do something wrong in public. So, the public will get angry, there'll be a public backlash. You know, a reaction from the public that's very negative towards that politician when they've ended up in hot water.

And this was the case with Scomo, the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, when he went overseas this year to Hawaii whilst the bushfires were happening, right? He got into hot water for that.

Another good example is the sports rort, where the liberal politician, Bridget McKenzie, she recently gave a lot of sports grants to Liberal seats around the country, the same party that she represented, instead of giving them to places that were more deserving. And she did this because she wanted to sort of secure the vote of these locations and also reward them for voting for the Liberal Party. And as a result, when the public found out about her dirty dealings, she got into a lot of hot water and she was forced to resign, right? She was given the boot, she was fired, effectively.

Example number three, imagine that your parents have gone away on a holiday and you have the house to yourself, right? You're an only child, you know, there's only one of you. You don't have any other siblings at home with you, you're maybe a teenager, 16, 17, 18 years old. And whilst your folks are away, you decide one night you want to throw a party with your closest mates and you let them know on Facebook.

So, you publicly post something on Facebook that tonight, Friday night, come one, come all, we're going to have a bash at my house. It's going to be a huge get-together. We're going to have a party. And it turns out that your friends all share that post around on their Facebook and everyone that they know finds out about the party, and later that night, instead of just your friends showing up to party with you, hundreds of teenagers turn out. They all, you know, fill the street and appear at your house. So, there's so many people, you lose control of the situation and they end up trashing your house.

They drink all your parents booze, they leave rubbish everywhere, they get into fights. They break things, windows are smashed and the cops get called by the neighbours, who are probably a bit pissed by that point. You know, they're probably a bit angry. So, after everyone's cleared out of your house and things die down, you survey the damage and realise that you are going to be in hot water when your parents get home, you are screwed. They're going to come home, they're going to find out about your escapades whilst they've been away, and you'll be in hot water, you'll be in deep trouble. You'll probably be grounded for a very long time.

So, there you go, guys. That's the expression 'to be in hot water', again, simply, it just means to be in trouble or disgrace. To be in trouble, to be in hot water.

As usual, let's go through a listen and repeat exercise here, guys, where you guys can work on your pronunciation, ok? So, listen and repeat after me.


In hot.

In hot water.

In hot water.

In hot water.

In hot water.

In hot water.

I'll be in hot water.

You'll be in hot water.

He'll be in hot water.

She'll be in hot water.

We'll be in hot water.

They'll be in hot water.

It'll be in hot water.

Good job, guys. Good job! There is a few interesting things going on there in the pronunciation. You might notice the Ts, you can say 'in hot water', 'in hot water', though, speaking more quickly, you'll say 'in hot water', 'in hot water'.

I'll be in hot water. You'll be in hot water.

So, that's where in the word 'hot', because the following word, 'water', starts with a consonant sound, or a semi vowel, I guess, and not a normal vowel, the T can be muted. So, instead of saying 'hot', you can say 'hot', 'hot'. And with the T in 'water', there's a vowel either the side of it, a vowel sound, and so you can turn that T into a T flap. Instead of 'water', you can say, 'water', 'water'.

I'll be in hot water. You'll be in hot water.

The other thing here, the interesting thing is that at the end of the words 'you'll', 'he'll', 'she'll', 'we'll', etc, how 'will' has been contracted into just apostrophe and two L's, 'I'll', 'you'll', this can either be a light L or a dark L when you want to pronounce it. So, you could say 'I'll be in hot water', 'you'll be in hot water', but because B, the letter B, at the start of the word 'be' is following 'I'll', 'you'll', 'he'll','she'll', you can use the dark L where instead it sounds like a reverse W sound, like an 'ew', ok?

So, you could say 'I'll be in hot water', 'you'll be in hot water', 'he'll be in hot water'.

So, these are some sort of advanced tips to really improve your pronunciation when speaking quickly and sound much more natural in English. And don't forget guys, if you really want to focus on your pronunciation, jump over to and pick up, buy, my Pronunciation Course because that'll give you all of the different sounds in Australian English and show you all of these advanced tips and tricks to sound much more natural when speaking.

Anyway, guys, before we finish up, I thought I would read for you the last letter that was sent from a convict called Samuel Peyton back to his mum before he faced execution. So, it was a really sad story. I was reading a book recently called 1788, written by marine Watkin Tench, who came to Australia in the First Fleet, and he he wrote the letter for Samuel Peyton, and I believe that was sent to his mum, or at least he transcribed it in his own book that he later published about his time coming to Australia.

And so it was really, really sad story where Samuel was sentenced to death for, I believe, stealing. He was like the 21st child of his parents and here is his story that he sent back to his mother after he was given the death penalty.

My dear and honoured mother, with a heart oppressed by the keenest sense of anguish and too much agitated by the idea of my very melancholy condition to express my own sentiments, I have prevailed on the goodness of a commiserating friend to do me the last sad office of acquainting you with the dreadful fate that awaits me. My dear mother, with what agony of soul do I dedicate the last few moments of my life to bid you an eternal adieu, my doom being irrevocably fixed.

And ere this hour, tomorrow I shall have quitted this veil of wretchedness to enter into an unknown and endless eternity. I will not distress your tender maternal feelings by any long comment on the cause of my present misfortune. Let it therefore suffice to say that impelled by the strong propensity to evil, which neither the virtuous precepts nor example of the best of parents could eradicate, I have at length fallen and unhappy, though just victim to my own follies.

Too late, I regret my inattention to your admonitions, and feel myself sensibly affected by the remembrance of the many anxious moments you have passed on my account for these and all my other transgressions. However great, I supplicate the divine forgiveness and encouraged by the promises of that saviour who died for us all. I trust to receive that mercy in the world to come, which my offences have deprived me of all hope or expectation of in this.

The infliction which this will cost you, I hope the Almighty will enable you to bear. Banish from your memory all my former indiscretions, and let the cheering hope of a happy meeting hereafter console you from my loss. Sincerely patient for my sins, sensible of the justice of my conviction and sentence, and firmly relying on the merits of a blessed redeemer. I am at perfect peace with all mankind and trust I shall yet experience that peace which this world cannot give. Condemn my soul to the divine mercy. I bid you an eternal farewell. Your unhappy, dying son, Samuel Peyton.

So, that would have probably been pretty difficult to understand, guys. And it is even for us native speakers as this was written around the year 1788, 1789, so, you know, in 250 years ago. But I wanted to read it for you, one, to give you insights into someone who was given the capital punishment. And, you know, he was hanged later after sending this letter probably the next day, but also to show you how the English sound and how people spoke back then and how they wrote English back then in that period of time. Anyway, guys, I hope you've enjoyed this episode and obviously you in the Aussie Fact episode coming up, see ya.

G'day, mate! Thanks for listening to the Aussie English Podcast. If you'd like to boost your English whilst also supporting the podcast and allowing me to continue to bring you awesome content, please consider joining the Aussie English Academy at You'll get unlimited access to the premium podcast as well as all of my advanced English courses, and you'll also be able to join three weekly speaking calls with a real English teacher. Thanks so much, mate. And I'll see you, soon.

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