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

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

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

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
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 scent spoor of Numa, alone, might have been enough to have provoked flight in many of the lesser animals, but the sight of this strange apparition that smelled like a lion, but looked like nothing they ever had seen before, being led through the jungles by a giant Tarmangani was too much for even the more formidable denizens of the wild.
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.
So far did his unparalleled madness go; but the noble lion, more courteous than arrogant, not troubling himself about silly bravado, after having looked all round, as has been said, turned about and presented his hind-quarters to Don Quixote, and very coolly and tranquilly lay down again in the cage.
The lion has the door open; he is free to come out or not to come out; but as he has not come out so far, he will not come out to-day.
That is true," said Don Quixote; "close the door, my friend, and let me have, in the best form thou canst, what thou hast seen me do, by way of certificate; to wit, that thou didst open for the lion, that I waited for him, that he did not come out, that I still waited for him, and that still he did not come out, and lay down again.
I know it," returned the Lion, wiping a tear from his eye with the tip of his tail.
Perhaps," said the Lion thoughtfully, "if I had no heart I should not be a coward.
Then, if you don't mind, I'll go with you," said the Lion, "for my life is simply unbearable without a bit of courage.
They really are," said the Lion, "but that doesn't make me any braver, and as long as I know myself to be a coward I shall be unhappy.
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.
It was a subdued and thoughtful company which dragged the captive lion along the broad elephant path back to the village of Mbonga, the chief.
At the sight of the body within the cage with the lion, the women and children of the village set up a most frightful lamentation, working themselves into a joyous hysteria which far transcended the happy misery derived by their more civilized prototypes who make a business of dividing their time between the movies and the neighborhood funerals of friends and strangers--especially strangers.