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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 ?
Escapers who were re-captured were sentenced to some sort of punishment, such as being put into solitary confinement with only bread and water for up to a month.
The experiences of the escapers on the run at the end of March 1944 through meter-deep snow, rather than across the sunny summer landscapes shown in the movie, the apprehension ultimately of all but three of them, and the brutal shooting on the side of highways or in out-of-the-way meadows of the majority "while trying to flee again," are presented more succinctly, but with undisguised admiration for the courage and sacrifice of the victims.
BAGHDAD / NINA / Daash terrorist organization announced that it will execute all of escapers from Anbar battles.
Factfile on the great escaper HARRY HOUDINI (pictured) was born Ehrich Weisz on March 24, 1874 in Budapest.
Finally, a new Escaper component provides a best-in-breed approach to context-specific escaping mechanisms aimed at preventing malicious redirects and code injections.
The newcomers had also found the remains of two graves, marked by simple wooden crosses, presumably the men Moore and the other escapers had buried.
Igor Balis, scorer of THAT penalty and central figure in arguably the greatest single moment of the club's history in the last 15 years, although the Great Escapers of 2004/05 may have a bigger shout, lives in Slovakia and is thus, frustratingly, a member in name more than measure.
Game players become border guards along the hated "inner German border", which was pulled down 21 years ago, and points are won by gunning down escapers in the "killing zone" between east and west.
The cast of characters includes prison officers, Republicans and Loyalists, and a rich assortment of patriots, chancers, leaders, wives, escapers and hypochondriacs.
All the characters take on a role, James Garner's the guy who can get anything and the master of escapers is the Steve McQueen character.
He presses his fingers to his eyes as he recalls their names and while I see Steve McQueen and Donald Pleasance in my mind's eye I realise that he is seeing the real escapers not the fiction.
This being such a short stage, one would think the likes of Telekom and Polti would get it together to rein in the escapers, but they were rarely able to do so in the early part of the race.
They received help from some of the guards who provided railway timetables, maps, and the official papers required for escapers.
But its site at the end of winding roads 2,500ft above sea level makes it as impregnable as Colditz, where the most determined Allied escapers were locked up in the Second World War.