leave in the lurch


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leave (one) in the lurch

To leave or abandon one without assistance in a particularly awkward, difficult, or troublesome situation. The manager will really leave me in the lurch if he decides to quit before this project is finished. When Janet's husband decided to go on a weekend getaway with his friends, he left her in the lurch organizing her kid's birthday party.
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leave someone in the lurch

Fig. to leave someone waiting for or anticipating your actions. Where were you, John? You really left me in the lurch. I didn't mean to leave you in the lurch. I thought we had canceled our meeting.
See also: leave, lurch

leave in the lurch

Abandon or desert someone in difficult straits. For example, Jane was angry enough to quit without giving notice, leaving her boss in the lurch. This expression alludes to a 16th-century French dice game, lourche, where to incur a lurch meant to be far behind the other players. It later was used in cribbage and other games, as well as being used in its present figurative sense by about 1600.
See also: leave, lurch