save (one's) bacon
save (one's) bacon
To rescue one from failure, danger, or disaster; to prevent something bad from happening to one. Thanks for bringing me some extra cash—you really saved my bacon. The company is in dire need of new investors to save their bacon.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
save one's bacon
Also, save one's neck or skin. Rescue one from a difficult situation or harm, as in I was having a hard time changing the flat tire but along came Bud, who saved my bacon, or The boat capsized in icy waters, but the life preservers saved our skins. The allusion in the first term is no longer clear. It may simply be a comical way of referring to one's body or one's life. At the time it was first recorded, in 1654, bacon was a prized commodity, so perhaps saving one's bacon was tantamount to keeping something precious. Both variants allude to saving one's life, the one with skin dating from the early 1500s, and with neck, alluding to beheading, from the late 1600s.
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.
save someone's baconmainly BRITISH, INFORMAL
If you save someone's bacon, you get them out of a dangerous or difficult situation. Your mother once saved my bacon, did you know that? She lent me money when I needed it. Note: One explanation for this expression is that `bacon' is related to an old word for `back', so to save your bacon meant to save your back from a beating. Another is that in the past, bacon stored during the winter had to be guarded from hungry dogs. A third explanation is that the expression was in the past thieves' slang meaning `to escape'.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
save somebody’s ˈbacon(informal) rescue somebody from a difficult or dangerous situation: Thank you for helping me with my exam preparation. You really saved my bacon. OPPOSITE: throw somebody to the wolves/lions
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