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escape fire

1. A fire created in an area of vegetation so as to create a path clear of fuel to avoid an oncoming wildfire. A lighter might seem like the last thing you'd need in the middle of a grasslands wildfire, but it saved my life when I used it to start an escape fire.
2. By extension, any nonstandard, counterintuitive, and/or improvised solution to a problem that is too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional means. The country's welfare debt was so insurmountable that the government began looking at radical escape fires to manage the situation.
See also: escape, fire

escape the bear and fall to the lion

To avoid a frightening or problematic situation, only to end up in a worse one later. A: "After I swerved to avoid hitting a pedestrian, I wound up in oncoming traffic, and my car was totaled." B: "That's awful. You escaped the bear and fell to the lion."
See also: and, bear, escape, fall, lion

narrow escape

A situation in which danger or problems are barely avoided. That guy barely made it over the tracks before the train came. What a narrow escape!
See also: escape, narrow

avenue of escape

A way or path out of something. That beetle doesn't seem to know that his only avenue of escape is the open window. The fire was in the kitchen, so our only avenue of escape was through the front door.
See also: avenue, escape, of

escape (one's) notice

To avoid being seen. I doubt you will escape people's notice if you show up at the party in a floor-length sequined gown.
See also: escape, notice

it escapes (one)

One can't quite remember something at the moment. I'm trying to remember why I came in here, but it escapes me.
See also: escape

avenue of escape

Fig. the pathway or route along which someone or something escapes. The open window was the bird's only avenue of escape from the house. Bill saw that his one avenue of escape was through the back door.
See also: avenue, escape, of

by the skin of one's teeth

Fig. just barely. (By an amount equal to the thickness of the (imaginary) skin on one's teeth.) I got through calculus class by the skin of my teeth. I got to the airport a few minutes late and missed the plane by the skin of my teeth. Lloyd escaped from the burning building by the skin of his teeth.
See also: of, skin, teeth

escape (from someone or something) (to some place)

to get away from someone, something, or some place to another place. Max escaped from prison to a hideout in Alabama. He escaped to Alabama from one of the worst-run prisons in the land.

escape someone's notice

Fig. to go unnoticed; not to have been noticed. (Usually a way to point out that someone has failed to see or respond to something.) I suppose my earlier request escaped your notice, so I'm writing again. I'm sorry. Your letter escaped my notice.
See also: escape, notice

Little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.

Prov. Truly expert criminals are never caught. Everyone's making such a fuss because they convicted that bank robber, but he must not have been a very dangerous criminal. Little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.
See also: but, escape, great, little, one, thief

escape notice

Elude attention or observation, as in It must have escaped the editor's notice so I'll write again. [c. 1700]
See also: escape, notice

narrow escape

A barely successful flight from or avoidance of danger or trouble, as in He had a narrow escape, since the bullet came within inches of his head. This expression uses narrow in the sense of "barely sufficient." [Late 1500s] For a newer synonym, see close call.
See also: escape, narrow

escape somebody’s ˈnotice

not be noticed by somebody: It may have escaped your notice but I’m very busy right now. Can we talk later?
See also: escape, notice

make ˌgood your eˈscape

(written) manage to escape completely: In the confusion at the border, the woman made good her escape.He made good his escape from a crowd of journalists by jumping over a fence.
See also: escape, good, make

a narrow eˈscape/ˈsqueak

a situation where somebody only just avoids injury, danger or failure: We had a narrow escape on the way here. The wind blew a tree down just in front of us. We could have been killed.
See also: escape, narrow, squeak

by the skin of (one's) teeth

By the smallest margin.
See also: of, skin, teeth
References in periodicals archive ?
The officer recovered and escaped the control room, freed the other two officers and the trio was able to apprehend four of the inmates.
Again, Sethe has rewritten her destiny, escaped the role assigned to her and her children, but at what cost?
Idaho code, 25-3705A(3) reads, "Any domestic cervidae [members of the deer family--deer, elk, moose], that have escaped the control of the owner .
Top Sinn Fein negotiator Gerry Kelly, who escaped from the Maze Prison in 1983, said the men should feel good about making the attempt.
calls the "Negro exhibit" - public displays of scars and signs of torture that escaped slaves, in silence, presented during their lectures to white Northern audiences.
CASTAIC - Investigators continued to search Monday for an inmate who escaped two days earlier from the Pitchess Detention Center while working in the jail's kitchen, authorities said.
VALENCIA - The inmate sheriff's deputies say escaped from a local hospital earlier this week and attacked a resident before being recaptured was in court Thursday, while his victim remained hospitalized in stable condition.
A 17-year-old chimpanzee named Gracie escaped from her enclosure Monday at the Los Angeles Zoo for the fourth time in recent years and roamed free for 45 minutes, forcing the evacuation of 9,000 visitors.
Nine inmates - including one who used a fake identification card with a photo of actor Eddie Murphy as ``Doctor Dolittle'' - have escaped from the county jail system since Jan.
CASTAIC - Before the sirens sounded in Castaic and sheriff's deputies swarmed the area in search of an escaped inmate, a man was spotted at a Castaic boat dealership in search of a change of clothes.
CASTAIC - For the second time in two weeks, a Los Angeles County jail inmate escaped Tuesday but this time he was caught quickly after three teen-age boys spotted him hiding in bushes.
Baca speculated that the 31-year-old Pullum, who was convicted of shooting a man two years ago in an apparent drug deal in Van Nuys, escaped from the high-level security jail by switching identification bracelets with another inmate.
THOUSAND OAKS - Houdini the rabbit escaped Wednesday - this time from a bobcat that killed the 13 other pet rabbits kept in a pen at a Chatham Court home.
SANTA CLARITA - Two prisoners who escaped a private security van during a restroom break over the weekend in Canyon Country face charges of kidnapping, auto theft and escape.