by the skin of (one's) teeth

(redirected from by the skin of their teeth)

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

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

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

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

by the skin of your teeth

by a very narrow margin; only just.
See also: by, of, skin, teeth

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

by the skin of (one's) teeth

By the smallest margin.
See also: by, of, skin, teeth

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
And to people who say this would split the Labour vote, I say the Tories have twice held on to office only by the skin of their teeth, and only with the help of the Lib Dems and the DUP.
They had more points in both of those seasons and still went on to struggle, only surviving by the skin of their teeth in the final games of the season.
A DRUG-DEALING Wrexham couple were told they had avoided jail "by the skin of their teeth".
When a 21-year-old is able to do that - after four years of modest footballing achievement, and playing for a club who only escaped the drop by the skin of their teeth - is it any wonder that the English public wonders why there is no desire and drive among our young players.
Even if he had steered United through by the skin of their teeth to the Capital One Cup final, I don't think it would have created a big buzz compared to a side like Sunderland getting there.
RICHARD Shepherd, 45, and his family will see Andy Murray's quarter-final match - by the skin of their teeth.
HOLMFIRTH just escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth last year - although they would have been nearer to promotion had they not been rather harshly deducted 12 points by the League for playing a 'de-registered' player last year.
MARTIN O'Neill was relieved to progress to the FA Cup fifth round after admitting Villa held on by the skin of their teeth against plucky Brighton.
CAMEROON, the four-time African champions, moved into the last eight of the competition by the skin of their teeth yesterday - and were promptly eased by unimpressed layers, writes Steve Davies.
Cardiff avoided extra-time by the skin of their teeth against 10-man Leyton Orient, former Aston Villa midfielder Peter Whittingham scoring in stoppage-time to seal a 1-0 win.
A range of seats once considered rock solid are now highly marginal, with some AMs only holding on by the skin of their teeth.
HOLDERS Talbot survived by the skin of their teeth as Gavin Collins headed a late equaliser in a thriller.
A marginally bigger 47% of voters who took part in the poll feel Boro will only avoid relegation by the skin of their teeth.
However, they progressed by the skin of their teeth as Cameroon, needing only to match Ivory Coast's result to qualify in their place, were held 1-1 at home by Egypt with Pierre Wome missing a penalty in stoppage time.
After surviving relegation by the skin of their teeth on the final day of the 2004 season, Adders will look for an improved performance this summer in what is sure to be a very competitive Warwickshire Premier League.