a saving grace

saving grace

A redeeming quality of something or someone. The only saving grace about that house is the large eat-in kitchen. Aunt Gertrude's incessant talking can be annoying, but her kindness is her saving grace—I know that she would help us with anything, no questions asked.
See also: grace, saving
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a saving grace

COMMON A saving grace is a good quality or feature in someone or something that prevents them from being completely bad or worthless. He was bad-tempered and deeply opinionated but he had one saving grace: he assembled one of the greatest private art collections of this century. It's an excellent performance and one of the film's few saving graces.
See also: grace, saving
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a ˌsaving ˈgrace

a quality which prevents somebody/something from being completely bad: She can be difficult at times. Her saving grace is her sense of humour.
See also: grace, saving
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

saving grace, a

A single redeeming quality, usually cited as compensating for other, negative characteristics. The term, which alludes to the theological concept of salvation from eternal damnation, was used literally from the late sixteenth century on. It began to be transferred to matters of somewhat lighter import in the late nineteenth century. J. B. Priestley so used it (Self-Selected Essays, 1932): “Here, in its plain lack of ideas, is the saving grace of this dull company.”
See also: saving
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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Which leaves us with the ultimate question: How are we to respond to a saving grace we can neither merit nor pay back?