hang by a hair

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hang (on) by a hair

1. Literally, to be attached only by something very thin and precarious. If that button is only hanging by a thread, you're bound to lose it during the course of the day.
2. To be perilously close to failing, dying, or resulting in a bad outcome. After the loss, their chances of getting into the championships are hanging on by a thread. Her life hung by a thread as medics rushed her to the hospital.
See also: by, hair, hang
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

hang by a hair

 and hang by a thread 
1. Lit. to hang by something very thin, such as a thread or a hair. The tiniest part of the mobile hung by a thread, the rest are on plastic cords.
2. and hang on by a hair; hang on by a thread Fig. to depend on something very insubstantial; to hang in the balance. Your whole argument is hanging by a thread. John isn't failing geometry, but his passing grade is just hanging by a hair.
See also: by, hair, hang
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

hang by a ˈthread/ˈhair

be in a very uncertain situation: After the operation, his life hung by a thread for several hours.The future of this company hangs by a thread. Unless we get two or three big orders by the end of the month, we’re finished.
See also: by, hair, hang, thread
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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