sell down the river


Betray, as in They kept the merger a secret until the last minute, so the employees who were laid off felt they'd been sold down the river. This expression, dating from the mid-1800s, alludes to slaves being sold down the Mississippi River to work as laborers on cotton plantations. Its figurative use dates from the late 1800s.

QUIZZES

THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ IS HARDLY A DODDLE!

But you can ace it no problem if you remember the words from September 7–13, 2020!
Question 1 of 7
What does “Promethean” mean?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.