cut the ground from under, to

cut the ground from under

Unexpectedly withdraw support or destroy one's foundation, trip someone up. For example, Overriding his veto, Congress cut the ground from under the President. This metaphoric phrase alludes to removing the solid earth from under someone. [Mid-1800s]
See also: cut, ground

cut the ground from under, to

To foil or thwart someone, to trip someone up. The idea of leaving someone no ground to stand upon in an argument was expressed in the late sixteenth century by several writers; occasionally “grass” was substituted for “ground.” James Howell’s French proverb collection of 1659 included Couper l’herbe sous les pieds, “To cut the grass under one’s feet.” Anthony Trollope used the expression in several of his books, including The Warden (1869): “The ground was cut from under her.”
See also: cut, ground
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