escape

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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 totalled." 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

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

it escapes me

1. I do not notice something If there was something important in that package, it certainly escaped me.
2. I do not remember something I knew his name a minute ago, but now it escapes me.
See also: escape

a narrow escape

a situation in which you were lucky because you just managed to avoid danger or trouble He only just got out of the vehicle before the whole thing blew up. It was a narrow escape.
See also: escape, narrow

by the skin of your teeth

  (informal)
if you do something by the skin of your teeth, you only just succeed in doing it We escaped by the skin of our teeth. England held on by the skin of their teeth to win 1-0.
See also: of, skin, teeth

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

by the skin of (one's) teeth

By the smallest margin.
See also: of, skin, teeth
References in classic literature ?
Whether such an incident ever really occurred as the visit of Crito and the proposal of escape is uncertain: Plato could easily have invented far more than that (Phaedr.
However, instead of putting thoughts of possible escape from my mind, my audience with Lorquas Ptomel only served to center my every faculty on this subject.
None escape," said a dappled brute standing in the doorway.
Since my imprisonment," said Faria, "I have thought over all the most celebrated cases of escape on record.
He's well guarded now; we only said he would escape.
But it so happened one night, that being upon deck, revolving over in my mind various plans of escape, I perceived one of the ship's company leaning over the bulwarks, apparently plunged in a profound reverie.
Almost immediately I recognised them for what they were, the dark openings of caves entering the solid walls--possible avenues of escape or temporary shelter, could we but reach them.
If he has allowed an opportunity to escape of making a king for himself, sooner or later, he will make another, of whom, to a certainty, you will not be prime minister.
Don't worry," answered the Scarecrow soothingly; "if you'll keep quiet long enough for me to think, I'll try to find some way for us all to escape.
More than ever was I determined to escape the Mahars.
His original plan had contemplated connivance in the escape of Lady Greystoke for two very good and sufficient reasons.
Smith-Oldwick's first thought when he was accosted by the figure in the yellow tunic of a soldier was to shoot the man dead and trust to his legs and the dimly lighted, winding streets to permit his escape, for he knew that to be accosted was equivalent to recapture since no inhabitant of this weird city but would recognize him as an alien.
Tarzan had recently brought his wife and infant son to London to escape the discomforts and dangers of the rainy season upon their vast estate in Uziri--the land of the savage Waziri warriors whose broad African domains the ape-man had once ruled.
This in itself constitutes an unimpeachable indictment of weakness, Then, influenced doubtless by an illogical feeling of sentiment, you permitted her to walk abroad in the fields to a place where she was able to make an almost successful attmept to escape.
It will never do to let them escape now," he said, at the same time drawing his revolver.