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A narrow escape from or avoidance of a situation, often an unfavorable or dangerous one. I had a close shave this morning when a tractor trailer unexpectedly swerved into my lane.
a close shaveand a close call
a narrow escape. (See also .) Wow, that was a close shave. I thought the guard would spot us. The speeding car passed only a few inches from us—a real close call.
a close shave
If someone has a close shave, they very nearly have a bad accident or very nearly suffer a defeat. It was a close shave — if I hadn't been paying attention we could both have been flattened. McGregor had a close shave when a 7ft polar bear ran at him while he was filming a documentary about the animals in Canada. Gingrich had a close shave in the 1990 general election.
close shave (or call)a narrow escape from danger or disaster. informal
a ˌclose ˈshave/ˈcall(informal) a situation where a disaster, an accident, etc. almost happens: We didn’t actually hit the other car, but it was a close shave. ♢ Phew! That was a close call — she nearly saw us!
close shaveand close call
n. a narrow escape. The car passed this close to us—a real close call. Man, that was a close call!
close call/shave, a
A narrow escape, a near miss. Both phrases are originally American. The first dates from the 1880s and is thought to come from sports, where a close call was a decision by an umpire or referee that could have gone either way. A close shave is from the early nineteenth century and reflects the narrow margin between smoothly shaved skin and a nasty cut from the razor. Both were transferred to mean any narrow escape from danger. Incidentally, a close shave was in much earlier days equated with miserliness. Erasmus’s 1523 collection of adages has it, “He shaves right to the quick,” meaning he makes the barber give him a very close shave so that he will not need another for some time. Two synonymous modern clichés are too close for comfort and too close to home.