throw to the wolves

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throw (one) to the wolves

To put one in the position to be the recipient of blame, trouble, or criticism, often that which was intended for oneself. Tommy was caught with the marijuana in his backpack, but he threw me to the wolves and said it was mine. Our manager never hesitates to throw an underling to the wolves when something goes wrong in the office.
See also: throw, wolves
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

throw someone to the wolves

Fig. to sacrifice someone to save the rest; to abandon someone to harm. (Fig. on the image of giving one person to the wolves to eat so the rest can get away.) Don't try to throw me to the wolves. I'll tell the truth about the whole affair! The investigation was going to be rigorous and unpleasant, and I could see they were going to throw someone to the wolves.
See also: throw, wolves
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

throw to the wolves

Also, throw to the dogs or lions . Send to a terrible fate; sacrifice someone, especially so as to save oneself. For example, Leaving him with hostile reporters was throwing him to the wolves, or If Bob doesn't perform as they expect, they'll throw him to the lions. All three hyperbolic terms allude to the ravenous appetite of these animals, which presumably will devour the victim. The first term comes from Aesop's fable about a nurse who threatens to throw her charge to the wolves if the child does not behave. [First half of 1900s]
See also: throw, wolves
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

throw somebody to the ˈwolves/ˈlions

allow somebody to be attacked or remain in a difficult situation, perhaps because they are no longer useful or important to you: When he became politically unpopular the rest of his party just threw him to the wolves. OPPOSITE: save somebody’s bacon
See also: lion, somebody, throw, wolves
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

throw to the wolves, to

To abandon or deliver something or someone to a terrible fate. This term comes from Aesop’s fable about a nurse who threatens to throw her charge to the wolves unless the child behaves better. She never intends to carry out her threat, so the wolf waits in vain for its prey. It is the idea of sacrificing someone that survived in the cliché, as, for example, in Clarissa Cushman’s mystery I Wanted to Murder (1941): “She was his wife. He couldn’t throw her to the wolves.”
See also: throw
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
For a moment the lion stood with legs far outspread, then he raised first one paw and then another, shaking them energetically in an effort to dislodge the strange footgear that Tarzan had fastened upon them.
At last, however, by dint of the unrestricted use of his spear point, the ape-man succeeded in forcing the lion to move ahead of him and eventually guided him into the passageway.
From open rebellion at first the lion passed through stages of stubborn resistance and grudging obedience to final surrender.
The first part of his history had not yet reached him, for, had he read it, the amazement with which his words and deeds filled him would have vanished, as he would then have understood the nature of his madness; but knowing nothing of it, he took him to be rational one moment, and crazy the next, for what he said was sensible, elegant, and well expressed, and what he did, absurd, rash, and foolish; and said he to himself, "What could be madder than putting on a helmet full of curds, and then persuading oneself that enchanters are softening one's skull; or what could be greater rashness and folly than wanting to fight lions tooth and nail?"
"Look ye, senor," said Sancho, "there's no enchantment here, nor anything of the sort, for between the bars and chinks of the cage I have seen the paw of a real lion, and judging by that I reckon the lion such a paw could belong to must be bigger than a mountain."
Here the author's outburst came to an end, and he proceeded to take up the thread of his story, saying that the keeper, seeing that Don Quixote had taken up his position, and that it was impossible for him to avoid letting out the male without incurring the enmity of the fiery and daring knight, flung open the doors of the first cage, containing, as has been said, the lion, which was now seen to be of enormous size, and grim and hideous mien.
It seemed to him that the lion would never leave, and it was a full hour before the angry brute gave up his vigil and strode majestically away across the plain.
Tearing the unhappy creature in two Akut handed the lion's share to the lad.
And the great lion lay and roared in helplessness, and at each prod exposed his nose more and lifted it higher, until, at the end, his red tongue ran out between his fangs and licked the boot resting none too gently on his neck, and, after that, licked the broomstick that had administered all the punishment.
"Going to be a good lion now?" Collins demanded, roughly rubbing his foot back and forth on Hannibal's neck.
No one would think of biting such a little thing, except a coward like me," continued the Lion sadly.
"It's a mystery," replied the Lion. "I suppose I was born that way.
Three metamorphoses of the spirit have I designated to you: how the spirit became a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.--
There he was, a great, magnificent specimen--a huge, black-maned lion. The warriors were frantic with delight.
The captured lion had been too angry and frightened to feed upon the body of his kill; but he had vented upon it much of his rage, until it was a frightful thing to behold.