20 Phrases Like “Hung Out to Dry”

What do we hang out to dry under the sun? Our wet laundry. This may not give you a picture of what the idiom is said to mean.

If you have not heard this being used in a conversation, you are about to learn what it means and how it is used.

A lot of people have been in a situation where it feels like their closest friends are hanging them out to dry.

To ‘hang a person out to dry’ means to leave the person in a helpless situation. Your friend has left you out to dry if he or she ignores you or refuses to offer help to you when you really need it.

You just learned one idiom. We have 20 other similar idioms you may want to add to your vocabulary.

20 Similar Phrases to “Hung out to Dry”

  1. Leave one hanging.
  2. Hang outside
  3. Leave in the lurch.
  4. Go out of one’s way
  5. Walk out on.
  6. Leave high and dry.
  7. Kiss goodbye
  8. Turn a blind eye.
  9. Let go of.
  10. Turn one’s back on
  11. Bail out on
  12. Out at the heels
  13. Let one stew in their own juice.
  14. One’s tongue hanging out.
  15. An axe hanging over one’s head.
  16. Hang in there.
  17. Dry as a dead dingo’s donger.
  18. Out of one’s mind
  19. Hang by a thread.
  20. Out of one’s skin.

Leave one hanging

This idiom also has to do with friends and serious situations. When you leave a person hanging, he or she must have come to you seeking your help with a serious situation.

By leaving the person hanging, you keep the serious situation unattended to. It may not be a case of danger as ‘hang out to dry’ often implies but it equally has to do with refusing to offer help or not offering enough help to help a person out.

By leaving the situation hanging, you are leaving it in a state of indecision or uncertainty. In other words, an answer is meant to be given or a step is meant to be taken but you leave it without making the decision.

You can leave a person hanging by refusing to respond to a question while the speaker waits to hear from you.

Hang outside

This short phrase is a commonly used part of our conversations so you may already know what it means. Asides from the use of ‘hang’, it has no similarity to ‘hang out to dry’.

Also, it doesn’t have much to do with hanging, as expected from idioms. When you hang out with a person, you simply go out or play around with the person.

READ:  20 Phrases Similar to "Que Sera Sera"

‘Hang out’ refers to the act of spending time with a person. While you can choose to go to a fun place or walk around, you both may also just stay in a place and have a nice chat.

Leave in the lurch

You may or may not have heard this idiom. It is the same as hanging a person out to dry so you can use this in the same context.

When a person leaves you in the lurch, he or she must be ghosting you at a time when you really need his or her help.

This may refer to someone who has stood by you up to the point of your plight. By leaving you in the lurch, the person has the capacity to help you out or offer the protection you need but he or she isn’t. This may be due to fear or whatever reason.

Go out of one’s way

This may be near opposite to the idiom, ‘hang out to dry’. While ‘hang out to dry’ refers to the act of leaving a person in a dangerous situation when your help is required, ‘going out of your way’ refers to the act of offering assistance that is not expected from you.

When you go out of your way, it means you are doing something that you would normally not do. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with helping a person as it often implies.

You can go out of your way to get what you want. You may also go out of your way to do harm to a person.

It simply means you are doing something in an unusual manner.

Walk out on

We already know what this phrase means. It has a simple English meaning that you should already understand. It also has an idiomatic meaning which is very close to its literal meaning.

When you walk out on a person, you leave the person abruptly. It simply means you walk away while the person still wants you present.

It is often used to refer to a rude exit. You can walk out on a person in the middle of a serious conversation. By walking away, you are ignoring the person.

Idiomatically, walking out on a person has to do with abandoning a person when he or she needs or wants you around.

Leave high and dry

Phrases Like Hung Out to Dry

‘High and dry’ can refer to boats stranded by the sea. This is not the ‘high and dry’ being referred to in this context. However, it portrays the idiomatic meaning of being high and dry. In other words, the idiom, ‘high and dry’, does not only refer to stranded boats and the seaside.

When a person is high and dry, he or she is without help. When you leave a person high and dry, you either put the person in a situation where he or she is helpless or you refuse to offer available help to him or her.

A situation can leave a person high and dry, that is put the person in a situation where he or she needs help or resources for survival. 

READ:  20 Similar Phrases to "Chip on Shoulder"

Kiss goodbye

This may not be very similar to the idiom, ‘hung out to dry’, but it has to do with abandonment.

When a person is hung out to dry, he or she is abandoned in a situation where assistance is needed. On the other hand, Kissing a person goodbye simply has to do with leaving a person forever.

When you kiss a person goodbye, you say your final goodbye to the person and leave him or her with no plan of meeting or relating with the person again.

You may also kiss something goodbye. In other words, you would be stopping the use of that thing.

For example, if an adult kisses childhood goodbye, that is he or she has nothing to do with childhood again. An addict can kiss his or her drugs goodbye. An old woman can kiss the idea of bearing children goodbye.

Turn a blind eye

When an eye is blind, then it can’t see. You may get an idea of what this idiom means. This is a near synonym of ‘hang out to dry’.

However, this idiom doesn’t necessarily have to do with people or dangerous situations.

Turning a blind eye simply refers to the act of ignoring. When you turn a blind eye to something, you intentionally ignore something or someone.

You can hang a person out to dry by turning a blind eye to his or her predicament while you are expected to offer help.

As mentioned earlier, turning a blind eye simply means ignoring so it doesn’t necessarily have to do with friends in dangerous situations.

You can turn a blind eye to the side effect of a drug and focus on its benefits. You can also turn a blind eye to how your friend is affected when you are taking an action that benefits you or another person.

Let go of…

‘Let go of’ shouldn’t be a new phrase to you. It can be considered the opposite of ‘hold onto’. When you hold onto something, you grab it and keep it in your hold. When you let go of it, you release it from your hold.

‘Let go of’ can refer to your hold on things. It can also refer to your hold on people. It may also refer to a decline in your clinginess or desire for a person or an idea.

When you let go of someone you love, you stop trying to protect your relationship with the person. You stop trying to make the person stay with you. You also stop trying to stay with him or her.

Turn one’s back on

Here is another similar expression that often refers to abandonment and betrayal. When you hang a person out to dry, it may not be very obvious.

You may simply make yourself unavailable by intentionally avoiding that friend who needs your help. Turning your back on someone is usually made obvious.

When you turn your back on a person, you are against him or her. You stop supporting the person and you make it very clear to him or her. The two idioms can be used interchangeably in some contexts.

READ:  20 Similar Phrases to 'Walk the Walk'

Bail out on

This is the same as turning your back on someone. When you bail out on a person, you abandon him or her in the middle of a journey where your support is needed.

Just like ‘turning one’s back on someone’, you must have been offering your support already. You may have prodded the person on to take certain steps.

However, when it got to a point in the middle of the journey, you turn your back and bail out on the person. It is a form of betrayal.

Out at the heels

This has no similarity to ‘hang out to dry’. The idiom, ‘out at the heels’ is a reference to the situation of an old shabby pair of stockings. As an idiom, it doesn’t refer to socks alone.

The idiom refers to anything that is in poor condition. You can say a person’s possession is out at the heels. In other words, it is worn out or bad.

You can also say a person’s business is out at the heels. In other words, the business is in bad condition.

Let one stew in their own juice

This is another idiom with almost the same meaning as ‘hung out to dry’. Letting a person stew in his or her own juice simply means allowing a person to suffer the consequences of his or her own actions.

This necessarily implies that the person’s predicament is self-inflicted and you want the person to suffer for it. In other words, you won’t be offering any assistance to get him or her out.

One’s tongue hanging out

Phrases Like Hung Out to Dry

A child’s or a dog’s tongue may be sticking out as a show of eagerness. This idiom does not necessarily mean your tongue is hanging out, even though your tongue may be.

It is used to show intense desire or eagerness for something.

An axe hanging over one’s head

This idiom may refer to a person’s job. When you say an axe is hanging over someone’s head, it means he or she is about to lose his or her job.

You can also say an axe is hanging over something when it is about to be destroyed.

Hang in there

‘Hang in there’ is something you say to someone in trouble or in a bad situation to assure the person that help is coming or that things will get better soon.

It may also refer to the act of staying determined or persistent in difficult circumstances.

Dry as a dead dingo’s donger

This simply means ‘ extremely dry’. You don’t need to know what a dead dingo’s donger is. The idiom may also come in a different form; ‘dry as a bone’.

Out of one’s mind

We all know what it means to be out of one’s mind. This may refer to insanity but not often.

It is used to refer to the unusual behavior of a person. When a person is out of his mind, he or she is acting wildly and not thinking straight.

Hang by a thread

For how long can a thread hold your body’s weight? When someone is hanging by a thread, then he or she is in danger.

It implies that the person is in a delicate situation in which a slight change can lead to greater danger.

Out of one’s skin.

This is used to refer to ‘fear’. When you are out of your skin, then you are terrified by something.

You can say ‘I almost jumped out of my skin, seeing him in that costume’.

Leave a Comment