to pull the rug out from under

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - pull the rug out

"to pull the rug out from under"

to suddenly take away important support from someone thereby ruining their plans or expectations


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - pull the rug out

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: How is your pitch going?

Colleague 2: Really well, thank you. I have crafted a truly brilliant proposal for the customer whereby I demonstrate that our prices are the absolute lowest in the industry.

Colleague 1: Sorry to pull the rug out from under your feet but I have already tried that approach with that customer and they are not necessarily interested in the lowest prices. They also have concerns of quality, reliability and the ability for our factories to upscale to meet their future demands.

Colleague 2: Oh. I suppose I will have to start over with the proposal. That is disappointing.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - pull the rug out

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1: How are you plans for saving for a car going?

Friend 2: Not well. My parents had originally said that if I could save half, they would contribute the other half but then my father lost his job and they told me that they can't help me anymore.

Friend 1: That is too bad. It is terrible when the rug is pulled out from under your plans. Maybe you can save the total amount on your own?

Test Your Understanding  

to pull the rug out from under - Usage:


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to pull the rug out from under - Gerund Form:

Pulling the rug out from under the not-for-profit group, the government stopped all financial assistance.

to pull the rug out from under - Examples:

1)  And just like private health, pull the rug out from the private school system by removing all their government funding.

2)  Just when you think things are looking up they like to pull the rug out from under your feet.

3)  Change the scenery, and you pull the rug out from under whatever drama your kids have gotten themselves wrapped up in.

4)  ... stupid 'war on drugs' imposed by the USA. Legalisation would pull the rug out from under the billion dollar cartels, relieving them of their biggest funding.

5)  Are we really, in 2012, going to pull the rug out from under those that are genuinely reliant on assistance?

6)  ... economist in the world who agrees with the Conservatives... that we should pull the rug out from under the economy with immediate spending cuts.

7)  ... to be until they finally get us "hooked" - then they pull the rug out from under us, leaving us to think WE did something wrong. 

8)  The spectrum seemed just another dastardly way to pull the rug out from the open standards movement anyway. 

9)  ... is clever because it plays to Apple's detractors while attempting to pull the rug out from under the die-hard Apple fans, painting them as the crowd following consumer.

10)  Then there's the trend towards cloud gaming which threatens to pull the rug out entirely from the very idea of distinguishing between different platforms. 

11)  ... best people are needed to come up with their best ideas, you pull the rug out from under their feet and often have them needlessly anxious and stressed for months.

12)  ... that to question it becomes a painful mental act. It requires you pull the rug out from beneath yourself. It requires you undermine the very ground upon which you ...

13)  ... agree we need to move to green sources, but we should not pull the rug out from under coal economies. 

14)  ... that we can predict things with certainty. And quantum mechanics seemed to pull the rug out from under that.

15)  It would be disastrous to pull the rug out from under all that. It would also be hugely unfair, ... 

16)  It's been a long hard road, the state government's pulled the rug out from underneath us (by axing its Solar Bonus Scheme), but we ...

17)  When we lost Paul it was like someone pulled the rug out from underneath everything, a terrible jolt out of the dark blue. 

18)  ... by keeping women from getting to clinics. We pulled the rug out from under them. And the movement to re-criminalize abortion failed. 

19)  He said the survey had 'pulled the rug out' from under the claim, based on official census figures.

20)  ... new house, the friends. Then bam! It was like somebody pulled the rug out from under my feet and took it all away.