throw away the key

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

An ellipsis of "lock (someone) up and throw away the key" (to incarcerate indefinitely)

Verb[edit]

throw away the key

  1. To never release someone (e.g., from prison).
    They should just lock them up and throw away the key.
    • 1995 11/19, “Senators Pete Domenici and John Breaux Discuss the Shutdown of the Federal Government”, CBS_FaceNation:
      Let's get these men together in a room and I would suggest feed them bread and water and throw away the key until they come together