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Hang a thief when he's young, and he'll no' steal when he's old expressing a cynical doubt in the possibilities of reformation; Scottish proverbial saying, early 19th century.

hang someone out to dry leave someone in a difficult or vulnerable situation (chiefly North American); the idea is of wet washing suspended from a washing-line, flapping in the wind.

See also give a dog a bad name and hang him, hang as high as Haman, hanged, hanging, give a man rope enough and he will hang himself.

Subjects: Law.

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