leave in the lurch
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leave (one) in the lurch
To leave or abandon one without assistance in a particularly awkward, difficult, or troublesome situation. The manager will really leave me in the lurch if he decides to quit before this project is finished. When Janet's husband decided to go on a weekend getaway with his friends, he left her in the lurch organizing her kid's birthday party.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
leave someone in the lurch
Fig. to leave someone waiting for or anticipating your actions. Where were you, John? You really left me in the lurch. I didn't mean to leave you in the lurch. I thought we had canceled our meeting.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
leave in the lurch
Abandon or desert someone in difficult straits. For example, Jane was angry enough to quit without giving notice, leaving her boss in the lurch. This expression alludes to a 16th-century French dice game, lourche, where to incur a lurch meant to be far behind the other players. It later was used in cribbage and other games, as well as being used in its present figurative sense by about 1600.
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.
leave in the lurch, to
To abandon or desert someone in a difficult position. This seemingly slangy modern term dates from the sixteenth century and is believed to come from a French dicing game called lourche, similar to backgammon. To incur a lurch at first meant to be left far behind, a meaning that survived in several other games, including cribbage. By the early seventeenth century, however, the expression had been transferred to any kind of abandonment, and was so used in Richard Tarton’s Jests (1611): “Ile leave him in the lurch and shift for my selves.”
See also: leave
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer