I found the expression “the economy remains stuck in a rut,” in the article titled ”What would Maynard Keynes tell us to do now – and should we listen?” which appeared in October 10 issue of New Yorker.
It appears in the following sentence:
“In such a (depressed) situation, the economy could easily remain stuck in a rut, until some outside agency – the government was Keynes’s favored candidate – intervened and spurred spending.”
From the above context, I guess “remain (be) stuck in a rut” means “remains at the standstill” or “caught in quagmire.”
I consulted both Cambridge and Merriam-Webster Dictionary to make sure of my interpretation, neither of which has entry of “ stuck in a rut,” while the former carries “stuck in a groove” with definition, “to be bored because of doing the same thing for long time".
As I checked Google Ngram, emergence of both phrase of “stuck in a groove” and “stuck in a rut” were already observed in mid 1800s, but the usages of “stuck in a groove” picked up in and after 1940s and “stuck in a rut” in early 1960s.
I wonder why “stuck in a rut,” of which usage is notably on increase for a half century is not registered in both well-known dictionaries (maybe I should ask this to the editors of both dictionaries, not EL&U users)? Hasn’t it still acquired enough currency as an idiom?
If my interpretation of “stuck in a rut” “ as “remains at standstill” is in groove or passable, why the meaning of “stuck in a “rut” and “groove” turns out different even though using a similar “track” concept? Or, are they interchangeable?