leave holding the bag Idiom, Proverb
leave holding the bagleave 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
leave holding the bag|bag|holding the bag|holding v. phr.
1. To cause (someone) not to have something needed; leave without anything, In the rush for seats, Joe was left holding the bag.
2. To force (someone) to take the whole responsibility or blame for something that others should share. When the ball hit the glass, the team scattered and left George holding the bag. After the party, the other girls on the clean-up committee went away with their dates, and left Mary holding the bag.