Leave in the lurch

Leave in the lurch is an idiom that has been in use since the sixteenth century. We will examine the meaning of the idiomatic phrase leave in the lurch, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

To leave in the lurch means to abandon someone who is in trouble, to desert someone and leave him to clean up a mess or deal with a difficult situation. Related phrases are leaves in the lurch, left in the lurch, leaving in the lurch. The idiom leave in the lurch was first used in the 1500s and is derived from a French board game known as lourche. Lourche involved a board that resembled a cribbage board but was said to have rules similar to backgammon. Unfortunately, the rules have become lost and the game fell out of favor in the 1600s. A player was put in a lurch when he was in a position from which he could not win. Cribbage players are also put in a lurch if they don’t make it half way around the board before the winner crosses the finish.

Examples

The YSRCP government would not leave in the lurch the farmers who had parted with their land in Amaravati for the construction capital during the TDP term, Energy Minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy asserted on Saturday. (The Hindu)

Vogel’s ouster may leave in the lurch a number of property owners who were leasing the Wendy’s restaurant buildings to him. (The Dalles Chronicle)

“Students of a city design school have been left in the lurch after the school, which offers graduate and diploma courses, closed down without any notice,” states a story that appeared in The Hindu newspaper in 2016 about the closure of the Raffles Millennium International college in Bangalore, India. (The Santa Fe Reporter)