15 Similar Phrases to “Pick Your Poison”

I suppose you already know that we are not discussing the poison you might expect science to work around.

Herein, we would be discussing ‘pick your poison’ as a figurative expression with you.

What picking one’s poison means, how it is used, and some other similar ways to put the same expression shall be considered on this page.

This is that one piece you actually need to get a broader view of the given phrase. If you are ready, let’s get started.

Pick your poison meaning

Literally, if he says “pick your poison”, you may look over your shoulder for a casket lying somewhere in the room. This is not the case metaphorically.

Pick your poison as an idiom connotes making a decision between two unfavorable or expensive options.

A typical use of this in a sentence will be a case where you and a friend already know a car company’s products are expensive, yet you’re going for its motorcar.

When using this phrase, we expect something like: ‘Hey, Dox, I’ve got the pricelist, pick your poison, haha!’ from your friend.

15 Similar phrases to pick your poison

Some of the following items may not exactly be able to replace ‘pick your poison’ in speeches, but they are without doubt closely related phrases.

  1. All things being equal
  2. The ball is in your court
  3. Raised red flags
  4. Up for grabs
  5. Up in the Air
  6. Stick to your guns
  7. Weigh the pros and cons
  8. It is your problem now
  9. My way or the highway
  10. Take pot luck
  11. Fish or cut bait
  12. The lesser of two evils
  13. No-brainer
  14. Point of no return
  15. In a quandary

All things being equal

All things being equal or sometimes said as ‘other things being equal’, is a commonly used phrase in decision-making processes.

Similar to the case of picking one’s poison, this phrase describes that one is very much likely to encounter the same outcome taking a given set of actions.

They are indifferent! Every side of a situation you want to talk about is the same.

For example, we say: ‘All things being equal, I don’t think you will be going abroad this year.’ On the other hand, one can equally say, ‘Now that you know this problem cuts everywhere, pick your poison.’

The ball is in your court

This phrase is a more general and common way to tell people they have got to make decisions all by themselves. It could also be used to denote who has the authority to do something.

One sentence example of this phrase is: ‘The ball is solely in your court.’ Actually, other words, especially those that modify, can come to play amidst this idiom, yet leaving its meaning unaltered.

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One thing you are after is letting the receiver of your message know that it is up to them (or someone else) to make a move.

This is a more formal statement compared to ‘pick your poison.’ For instance, it meets high standards to say that ‘The ball is in the White House’s court’.

Raised red flags

‘You would have been appointed the treasure, but your opinion at the last congress raised red flags.’ This is not a poor sentence, but what are red flags? Red flags are warning signs.

Yes, I suppose you already know red is that sign of danger.

Coupled with ‘raised’, red flags connote any action or thing that indicates a succeeding thing will be negatively affected. That is a poison you don’t want to pick!

‘So Joe, you will have to pick your poison.’ Joe replied: ‘I know, your look raised the red flags already.’ Unlike the original phrase under check, ‘raised red flags’ is more unspecific. Red flags are poison you don’t want to pick when raised.

Up for grabs

Here is another synonymous phrase, though one that is not so close to ‘pick your poison.’

In discussing the original phrase, we talked about choosing from more than one thing and having to expect the same outcome from any of the choices.

Up for grabs, on the other hand, is a phrase to tell that an option is available. It doesn’t in itself clarify whether the available option is figuratively a poison.

So, instead of ‘think twice before picking your poison’, we say ‘think twice, all three choices are up for grabs.’, for instance.

Up in the Air

At first glance or hearing, this appears like a phrase contrary to ‘pick your poison’, but it is actually one other way people say that they have no better options available.

Similar Phrases to Pick Your Poison

When it is up in the air, it is inconclusive. It describes an action that has not been decided. A typical example of this statement as a synonym to pick your poison is: ‘Nevermind, my intention remains up in the air because no option is worth it.’

In this sentence, a careful reader should notice some elements of euphemism. The speaker chooses a more formal and presentable way to tell of his trouble.

It is your problem now

It is not uncommon to hear this among friends. It is a phrase that closely takes the place of ‘pick your poison’, but rather informally.

This is not something you want to write in a cover letter (whatsoever other forms of formal letters), for instance – regardless of the personal relationship between you and the receiver.

When you say ‘it is your problem now’, you are telling someone they are to make the move of making a decision. Although the statement sounds somewhat infernal, it is also one that people use regardless of the turn an action may take (favorable or unfavorable).

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Fish or cut bait

If picking your poison is hard, then let the room to another person. This statement can be simply embedded in ‘Fish or cut bait.’

Having to pick one’s poison, as you ought to have envisioned, may be a state of bewilderment for a person when you have no idea what to go for. As a result, fish or cut bait is a more complete way to ‘pick your poison’ at someone.

When you are asked to fish or cut bait, you are required to decide on something or give someone else the opportunity to do that for you. This phrase could especially replace ‘pick your poison.

Stick to your guns

‘I know you will stick to your guns, but I don’t know how that will influence your choice between those contracts.’

You will perceive that there must have been a standard (or so) peculiar to the receiver of this message. That standard predetermine a future expectation in some ways.

This sounds very much like ‘pick your poison,’ but they are not so semantically close. While you will have to choose between two displeasing things in the main phrase, here, it is expected that you are already holding on to a decision.

It should be further admitted that one cannot stick to his gun unless the ball is in his court.

Weigh the pros and cons

If you weigh the pros and cons of an action, you try not to pick your poison. It is the process of trying to know the better option for you between two things.

‘Sorry about the delay, I will have to weigh the pros and cons before deciding.’ Yes, a good sentence example for you.

This phrase is what you want to use in a rather difficult decision-making situation, where this choice is almost equal to that choice.

It is arguably one polite and modest way to ask people to choose between unpleasant options.

My way or the highway

Though ostensibly quite humorous, this statement comes very close to ‘pick your poison’, but it is more personal or subjective – in the sense that you are giving a person the room to choose between the choice they have with you.

Similar Phrases to Pick Your Poison

In the main phrase in question, we could be discussing a third-party choice with someone, but with ‘my way or the highway’, whatever choice is decided is between you (the speaker) and he/she (the receiver).

For instance, you may hear her say, ‘Chris, if you go to the party, we are breaking up; my way or the highway?’ You’re on the highway when you choose to go!

The lesser of two evils

Both may be figuratively poisonous ideas, but one of them can equally be more lethal. Oftentimes when we are confronted with two poor options, we find out one of the two options is better.

The better of those options is regarded as the lesser of two evils. In any similar case, you can always use this statement.

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Sentence example: ‘Dan will remain in their camp if we pay the $100k ransom, but he would be killed if we do not, so we should opt for the lesser of two evils.’

No-brainer

When it is a no-brainer, even the poison you have to pick wouldn’t take time. No-brainer is especially very close to the previously examined phrase, where one of two options is obviously the best.

The same decision-making process that takes what looks like eternity in picking your poison is something you almost don’t have to think about, here.

You would agree with me that Dan surely has to live, even though $100k may look like a lot of money to those who have to pay it. Such instances are tagged, ‘No-brainer.’

Point of no return

‘See, Jane, it is a point of no return, there is nothing to do about it.’

Getting this as a response or feedback from someone should signal more troubles to you than is the case with picking your poison.

The reason for this is that when you have to pick your poison, you’re open to a number (especially two) of options.

At the point of no return, you have very little or no option other than to keep going. This is the point where one usually can’t turn back.

Take pot luck

This is often the aftermath or outcome of urgency. It happens when a person’s back is almost already to the wall.

The phrase itself connotes a state of not much freedom. It is a point where an individual cannot but do with the only available option.

Say for instance you are a selective eater who doesn’t just go to random restaurants. One day you got really hungry while traveling, and had to stop at the nearest restaurant, then you had to take a potluck.

‘I didn’t plan on attending college, but I was becoming an old idle man, I had to take potluck,’ is one typical sentence for this phrase.

In a quandary

Similar Phrases to Pick Your Poison

Permit me to say that there is also this state! Quandary on its own, in case it’s new to you, means a state of perplexity, puzzlement, uncertainty, etc.

It describes every state that has to do with being bemused or discombobulated.

In a quandary, thus means being in an uncertain state of mind where deciding between actions may be relatively herculean.

Since we would not say ‘pick your quandary’ perhaps, this statement may not directly replace ‘pick your poison’ in sentences, but it is also needless to say that in both statements, whomever it concerns has to weigh the pros and cons. This, and other features bring all phrases on our list together.


Having read this, you have the carte blanche to decide which of the phrases you’d use, and how. Oh, no! Not that carte. Carte blanche in this sense is like a blank check and not your friend’s name. It is a bonus word for you, anyway.

Further, remember that hinging on the place of usage, similar words may not exactly fit into the shoes of one another.

Finally, while you can be sure that the phrases on our list are closely related, do well to learn and master their proper usage.

Some of the given phrases may appropriately replace ‘pick your poison’, while some others will require you to completely reconstruct a sentence.

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