Phrases: Sold Down the River


Sold Down the River: 
To be Cheated or Betrayed


Sold down the River is a phrase that means to be cheated, and/or betrayed. Many people know and use the phrase on a regular basis, however lesser known is the sad history behind the phrase. It originated in the United States during the days of the slave trade. To be sold down the river meant that a slave was sold from one of the northern slave states to a cotton plantation anywhere along the Mississippi River, where conditions were particularly brutal. Being sold down the river was akin to a death sentence.

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