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wither on the vine

Fail to come to fruition, as in This building project will wither on the vine if they don't agree on a price. This expression alludes to grapes shriveling and drying up because they were not picked when ripe.

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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.