off the hook, to get/to be let

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off the hook, to get/to be let

To escape from some difficulty. The analogy is to throwing a fish one has caught back into the water, saving its life. The term on the hook goes back to the seventeenth century; the current cliché dates only from the mid-1800s. Anthony Trollope used it (The Small House at Allington, 1864): “Poor Caudle . . . he’s hooked, and he’ll never get himself off the hook again.”
See also: get, let, off