What does the idiom "By the skin of your teeth" mean?
Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does By the skin of your teeth mean? In what situations is By the skin of your teeth used?
Meaning of "By the skin of your teeth"
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.
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.”
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.
- 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 universal role of idioms
"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.