leave (one) holding the bag(redirected from leave them holding the bag)
leave (one) holding the bag
To foist responsibility or guilt for something onto someone; to blame someone for something. Primarily heard in US. My partner had been cooking the books for years, and he left me holding the bag when the business collapsed.
leave someone holding the bagand leave someone holding the baby
Fig. to allow someone to take all the blame; to leave someone appearing to be guilty. They all ran off and left me holding the bag. It wasn't even my fault. It was all the mayor's fault, but he wasn't left holding the bag.
leave holding the bag
Abandon someone, force someone to bear the responsibility or blame. For example, Her friends said they were too busy to help with cleaning up, and left Lucy holding the bag . This expression is often put as be left holding the bag, as in When they quit the clean-up committee, Lucy was left holding the bag. This idiom grew out of the earlier give one the bag (to hold), which dates from about 1600 and alludes to being left with an empty bag while others have taken the valuable contents. Also see leave in the lurch.