Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Dead Lift.

 Dead-letter Office (The).Dead Lights. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Dead Lift.
I am at a dead lift. In a strait or difficulty where I greatly need help; a hopeless exigency. A dead lift is the lifting of a dead or inactive body, which must be done by sheer force.   1

 Dead-letter Office (The).Dead Lights. 

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