hang someone out to dry

hang someone out to dry

leave someone in a difficult or vulnerable situation. informal
The image here is of hanging wet washing on a clothes line to dry. The idea of ‘flapping uselessly or ineffectually’ like clothes drying in the wind is also behind the cricketing metaphor hanging your bat out to dry , which dates from the late 19th century and means ‘holding your bat away from your body at an ineffectual angle’.
1998 Spectator We point out that another MP…has been hung out to dry for failing to declare what was (relative to this) a minuscule interest.
See also: dry, hang, out