leave out in the cold, to

leave out in the cold, to

To exclude. This term, evoking the image of a person who is refused admittance to a house and must remain outside in cold weather, presumably began by meaning just that, in the late nineteenth century. It soon was transferred to mean exclusion not only from shelter but from a social group, information, or the like. It had long been a cliché by the time John le Carré entitled his espionage novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), in which the main character returns from the German Democratic Republic (Communist East Germany)—figuratively out in the cold— to the West.
See also: leave, out
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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