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.
See also: bacon, save
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.
See also: bacon, save
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.
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