cut the ground from under


Unexpectedly withdraw support or destroy one's foundation, trip someone up. For example, Overriding his veto, Congress cut the ground from under the President. This metaphoric phrase alludes to removing the solid earth from under someone. [Mid-1800s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.