in the lurch

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Related to in the lurch: out of whack, leave in the lurch, To Say the Least, left in the lurch

lurch 1

intr.v. lurched, lurch·ing, lurch·es
a. To make an abrupt sudden movement: The train lurched and moved away from the platform.
b. To move with abrupt movements; move haltingly or jerkily. See Synonyms at blunder.
2. To roll or pitch suddenly or erratically: The ship lurched in the storm. The car gave a start and then lurched forward.
1. A staggering or tottering movement or gait.
2. An abrupt rolling or pitching.

[Origin unknown.]

lurch′ing·ly adv.

lurch 2

The losing position of a cribbage player who has not passed the halfway mark at the end of the game.
in the lurch
In a difficult or embarrassing position.

[Perhaps back-formation from Middle English lurching, a total victory at lorche, a kind of game; perhaps akin to lurken, to lurk; see lurk.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend: the lurch - in a difficult or vulnerable position; "he resigned and left me in the lurch"
idiomatic expression, phrasal idiom, set phrase, phrase, idiom - an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up
References in classic literature ?
And while the tinker fell asleep, Robin made haste away, And left the tinker in the lurch, For the great shot to pay.
Thus was Master Middle left in the lurch "for the great shot to pay.
His courtiers have left him in the lurch, and his concubines have followed so excellent an example.