by the skin of (one's) teeth

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by the skin of (one's) teeth

Barely. Often used to describe something that almost didn't happen. Oh man, my car wouldn't start this morning—I just made it here by the skin of my teeth!
See also: by, of, skin, teeth
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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: by, of, skin, teeth
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

by the skin of one's teeth

Just barely, very narrowly, as in Doug passed the exam by the skin of his teeth. A related term appears in the Bible (Job 19:20), where Job says, "I am escaped with the skin of my teeth," presumably meaning he got away with nothing at all. Today the phrase using by is used most often to describe a narrow escape. [c. 1600] Also see squeak through.
See also: by, of, skin, teeth
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

by the skin of your teeth

COMMON If you do something by the skin of your teeth, you just manage to do it but very nearly fail. In the men's First Division, the champions survived by the skin of their teeth. She was there when the fighting started and escaped by the skin of her teeth. Note: This expression seems to come from the book of Job in the Bible, although its meaning has completely changed. Job loses everything and then says `I am escaped with the skin of my teeth' (Job 19:20), meaning that the skin of his teeth is all he has left.
See also: by, of, skin, teeth
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

by the skin of your teeth

by a very narrow margin; only just.
See also: by, of, skin, teeth
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

do something by the ˌskin of your ˈteeth

(informal) only just do something; nearly fail to do something: We thought we’d miss the plane, but in the end we caught it by the skin of our teeth.
See also: by, of, skin, something, teeth
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

by the skin of (one's) teeth

By the smallest margin.
See also: by, of, skin, teeth
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

by the skin of one's teeth

Just barely. The term comes from the Book of Job (19:20), in which Job tells Bildad of his troubles. He says, “My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth,” meaning that hardly anything is left of his body. The expression still is used almost exclusively to mean a narrow escape. However, Thornton Wilder used it as the title of a play, The Skin of Our Teeth, an allegory of how mankind survives that won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1943.
See also: by, of, skin, teeth
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

skin of your teeth

The narrowest of margins. Job 19:20 has its protagonist say, “I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth.” That is to say, Job's gums, the skin that held his teeth in place, which would indeed have been a narrow margin.
See also: of, skin, teeth
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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