hold the bag


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Related to hold the bag: left holding the bag

hold the bag

To have responsibility or guilt for something foisted upon oneself; to take the blame for something. My partner had been cooking the books for years, but I was left holding the bag when the business collapsed.
See also: bag, hold

hold the bag

Informal
1. To be left with empty hands.
2. To be forced to assume total responsibility when it ought to have been shared.
See also: bag, hold

hold(ing) the bag, to/be left

Abandoned by others, left in the lurch to carry the responsibility or blame. The implication in this expression, used since the eighteenth century, is that one is left holding an empty bag while others have made off with the presumably valuable contents. The phrase has often been used in international relations—for example, by Thomas Jefferson (“She will leave Spain the bag to hold,” Writings, 1793), and on the eve of America’s entrance into World War II, by Clare Boothe (Luce) in Europe in the Spring (1940): “When bigger and better bags are made, America will hold them.”
See also: left
References in periodicals archive ?
You might get a small parting, but most of the time I found myself having to hold the bag sides apart as I slashed the stretched thread with a knife in my third hand.
I didn't even want to hold the bag I was that shocked.
The tool allows one person to fill bags, rather than have one person hold the bag open while another shovels sand into it, said Warren E.
And by 1952, Lipton held the tea bag patent, but who was going to hold the bag?
A thief grabbed her handbag and hung on despite her dogged struggle to hold the bag.
Place a bag firmly over each ear, wedging a side of the bag between the ear and the stalk to help hold the bag in place.