hang in the balance

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hang in the balance

To be perilously close to failing, depending on the outcome of something. The court is just about to issue its verdict, and our company's future is hanging in the balance. Her life hung the balance as medics rushed her to the hospital.
See also: balance, hang
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

hang in the balance

Be in a precarious condition or in a state of suspense. For example, The doctor said her life was hanging in the balance. This expression alludes to the suspended balance scale where an object is placed in one pan and weights are added one by one to the other pan until the two are balanced. [First half of 1400s]
See also: balance, hang
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.

hang in the balance

A state of doubt or suspense regarding the outcome of something. The balance referred to is the old weighing device in which an object to be weighed is put in one pan and weights of known quantity are added one by one to the other pan, until the two are balanced. The unknown weight here is fate—that is, the outcome. The expression dates at least from the fifteenth century; it appeared in John Lydgate’s translation of the Fall of Princes (1430) and has been used ever since.
See also: balance, hang
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Participation of the PBA's veteran stars in the next Gilas event, the Fiba Asia Championship in Lebanon near the end of August, still hangs in the balance as it will run smack into the season-ending Governors' Cup that opens this Wednesday.
The fate of the contestants is with the public for the first time on X Factor which could shake things up, and the performance of some of the weaker dancers from Strictly hangs in the balance. With all this tension both shows are sure to be exciting Sunday night viewing.
"I would argue that the future of our country hangs in the balance because the future of marriage hangs in the balance.
When the two forces clash, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, sending the O'Connells on a race to save the planet, and rescue their son before it is all too late.
That's why online sales of insurance have yet to take off, and why the fate of many online aggregators hangs in the balance.