What does the idiom "By the skin of your teeth" mean?

Are you using the idiom By the skin of your teeth but not sure about its meaning? Using idioms, which are important elements of spoken and written language, in the right place strengthens your language skills. Examine the meaning of the By the skin of your teeth idiom and the situations in which it is used.

Meaning of "By the skin of your teeth"

Meaning

The phrase “by the skin of one’s teeth” is an idiom used to describe someone barely achieving or just avoiding something. It is often used to indicate the idea that something is just barely saved from disaster, almost to the point of being too late. In other words, it is used to describe an individual who narrowly escapes a dangerous or difficult situation.

Etymology

The origin of the phrase “by the skin of one’s teeth” is found in the Bible. In Job 19:20, job pleads to God: “My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.” This verse is interpreted by scholars as Job’s near-death experience and impending salvation. By using this phrase in this context, it is inferred that Job is barely able to escape death, hence the phrase “by the skin of one’s teeth.”

Usage

The phrase “by the skin of one's teeth” is generally used to describe a situation where someone barely manages to avoid a dangerous or difficult situation. It is often used in a humorous way, to indicate the fact that despite all odds, the person was able to escape their precarious situation.

Example Sentences

  • I managed to pass my exam by the skin of my teeth!
  • He was able to escape the accident by the skin of his teeth.
  • We made the deadline by the skin of our teeth.

The meanings of the words in the "By the skin of your teeth" idiom

The power of idioms transcends languages!

"Putting the cart before the horse" is an English idiom that means doing things in the wrong order. In Russian, the similar idiom is "Кладёт колесо впереди лошади," which translates to "Putting the cart before the horse." This idiom emphasizes the idea that doing things in the wrong order can lead to confusion and problems down the line.

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