In Donnie Brasco (1997), Lefty asks Donnie about 90 foot boat for Santo Trafficante:

Donnie: No, I'm working on it.

Lefty: Don't tell me no. You got to get that boat. I reached out already. His man says, "Lefty, he loves boats. " I told him a 100-foot boat. I'm on the clothesline now.

What does "on the clothesline" mean?

  • 3
    It means, I suspect, that he's hung out on the line by promising something he may not be able to deliver.
    – Paulie_D
    Dec 11, 2021 at 12:17

1 Answer 1


It’s a riff on the common expression “to be hung out to dry”, which means he has been put in a difficult or impossible situation by his mob superiors.


One hangs clothes on a clothesline, so Lefty is saying he was hung out to dry as on a clothesline.

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