Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

(leave) hung out to dry

hung out to dry
1) physically hang something wet to dry off
  • How to MemorizePopularity LowProfessional HighSocial
    • hung out to dry on the clothesline
  • Analysis

    To 'hang' something means to suspend something from above with a lower part dangling free. When you 'hang something out to dry' or 'leave something out to dry' it usually refers to using a clothesline or a washing-line to dry fabrics or items of clothing outside.

  • Social Examples (Basic)
    1. The sneakers were hung out to dry after the muddy excursion.
    2. My mom nagged me to hang my shirt out to dry so I could wear it later that night.
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. We need to leave the pottery out to dry before we add the glaze.
    2. One of the iconic images in Naples is the washing hanging out to dry across the streets.
    3. You will often see clothes left out to dry flat in the fields in rural China.
  • Further Suggestions
2) left to take the blame/punishment; leave someone in need
  • How to MemorizePopularity MediumProfessional MediumSocial
    • left hung out to dry
  • Analysis

    When you 'hang someone out to dry' it means to abandon them when they need your help or to leave them alone to face a situation which is unpleasant. It can also mean to allow someone to face punishment or criticism unfairly without stepping in to help or defend them. This is an idiomatic phrase similar in meaning to 'throw someone to the wolves' or 'to leave someone high and dry'.

  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. When he was left hung out to dry in the meeting, he realized his colleagues weren't his real friends.
    2. You should never leave your teammates to hang out to dry during a match.
    3. They returned to the city to back her story because they didn't want to leave her to hang out to dry.
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. He hung me out to dry in that meeting. He didn't offer one word of support.
    2. She was hung out to dry in the media after publicly supporting the proposal.
    3. They didn't help us out last time we were in trouble. I say we leave them out to dry this time and maybe they'll be more helpful towards us in the future.
  • Further Suggestions
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