sell down the river


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Related to sell down the river: haul over the coals, sell someone down the river

sell somebody down the river

to do something that hurts someone who trusted you Workers complained that their leaders sold them down the river in the latest contract negotiations.
Related vocabulary: sell out somebody/something
See also: down, river, sell

sell somebody down the river

to do something which harms or disappoints someone who trusted you, in order to get an advantage for yourself A lot of people feel they have been sold down the river by a government who have failed to keep their pre-election promises.
See also: down, river, sell

sell down the river

Betray, as in They kept the merger a secret until the last minute, so the employees who were laid off felt they'd been sold down the river . This expression, dating from the mid-1800s, alludes to slaves being sold down the Mississippi River to work as laborers on cotton plantations. Its figurative use dates from the late 1800s.
See also: down, river, sell

sell down the river

Informal
To betray the trust or faith of.
See also: down, river, sell