Be abandoned to a bad situation, especially be left to incur blame, as in The governor denied knowing it was illegal and left his aide to twist in the wind. It is also put as leave twisting in the wind, meaning “abandon or strand in a difficult situation,” as in Sensing a public relations disaster, the President left the Vice-President twisting in the wind. This expression, at first applied to a President's nominees who faced opposition and were abandoned by the President, alludes to the corpse of a hanged man left dangling and twisting in the open air. [Slang; early 1970s] Also see out on a limb.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.