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Rock ahead

(A). A sea-phrase, meaning that a rock is in the path of the ship, which the helmsman must steer clear of; a danger threatens; an opponent; an obstruction.

“That yonker ... has been a rock ahead to me all my life.” —Sir W. Scott: Guy Mannering, chap. liv.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Rock ahead from Infoplease:

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