Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to shave: shave off
1. A narrow escape from or avoidance of a situation, often an unfavorable or dangerous one. It was a close call, but I managed to avoid hitting the deer that ran directly in front of my car.
2. A decision or judgment that is difficult to make due to each possibility being nearly equal in one's consideration. I'm sorry, it really was a close call, but we've decided to go with another candidate for this position.
3. A contest or competition whose winner is not clear due to very close competition or results that are difficult to distinguish. With the two candidates having nearly equal amounts of delegates, this election is going to be a very close call.
A narrow escape from or avoidance of a situation, often an unfavorable or dangerous one. I had a close shave this morning when a tractor trailer unexpectedly swerved into my lane.
1. To shear something away from some surface, with or as with some kind of straight or mechanical blade. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shave" and "off." I've decided to shave off my mustache. He shaved a slice of cheese off and handed it to the child.
2. To reduce, remove, or eliminate some amount of something, especially a very small amount. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shave" and "off." I was pretty discouraged that, after spending all that time and energy training, I was only able to shave a couple seconds off my race time. Giving up milk and sugar in your coffee is a quick and easy way to shave off some calories from your diet.
obsolete slang Mildly drunk. I suspected that my lawyer was half-shaved as he went over the case notes before the trial. I'm afraid alcohol does not agree with me at all. Just half a glass of sherry leaves me half-shaved!
1. slang A newly commissioned officer in the US Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps, especially a second lieutenant. Derived from the practice of shaving the tail of untrained pack animals. It was the shavetail's first mission, and he realized he was in over his head. They court-martialed the shavetail for disobeying the admiral's orders.
2. slang By extension, any person who is inexperienced in a given field, industry, profession, etc. Why don't you give the case to the shavetail we just hired? It will be tough, but it will put her abilities to the test. some of the older employees resented the fact that a shavetail like me was promoted through the ranks of the company so quickly.
a close shaveand a close call
a narrow escape. (See also .) Wow, that was a close shave. I thought the guard would spot us. The speeding car passed only a few inches from us—a real close call.
have a close shaveand have a close call
Fig. to have a narrow escape from something dangerous. What a close shave I had! I nearly fell off the roof when I was working there. I almost got struck by a speeding car. It was a close shave.
Also, close shave. Narrow escape, near miss. For example, That skier just missed the tree-what a close call, or That was a close shave, nearly leaving your passport behind. The first phrase dates from the late 1800s and comes from sports, alluding to an official's decision ( call) that could have gone either way. The second, from the early 1800s, alludes to the narrow margin between closely shaved skin and a razor cut. (This latter usage replaced the much earlier equation of a close shave with miserliness, based on the idea that a close shave by a barber meant one would not have to spend money on another shave quite so soon.) Also see too close for comfort.
a close shave
If someone has a close shave, they very nearly have a bad accident or very nearly suffer a defeat. It was a close shave — if I hadn't been paying attention we could both have been flattened. McGregor had a close shave when a 7ft polar bear ran at him while he was filming a documentary about the animals in Canada. Gingrich had a close shave in the 1990 general election.
close shave (or call)a narrow escape from danger or disaster. informal
a ˌclose ˈshave/ˈcall(informal) a situation where a disaster, an accident, etc. almost happens: We didn’t actually hit the other car, but it was a close shave. ♢ Phew! That was a close call — she nearly saw us!
1. To cut something, especially hair, from the surface of the skin with a razor or shaver: I shaved my beard off. I shaved off the stubble.
2. To remove or eliminate something in thin strips or small amounts using a blade: The woodworker used a planer to shave off the bark. I opened the coconut and shaved some of the meat off with a knife.
3. To eliminate some small amount of a total: This aerodynamic racing suit will shave off a full second from your time. She shaved ten seconds off the school's 100-meter dash record.
4. To limit deliberately the number of points scored by one's own team in an athletic contest, as in return for a payment from gamblers to ensure winnings: The rest of the team was sure that he was missing shots on purpose in order to shave points off for his gambling buddies. The police are investigating her for shaving off points in the championship game.
close shaveand close call
n. a narrow escape. The car passed this close to us—a real close call. Man, that was a close call!
See close shave
tv. to reduce or lessen something. The coach thought that the other team was shaving points, so he complained the next day.
mod. alcohol intoxicated. So what if I’m a bit shaved? I shtill have all my shenses.
See also: shave
n. a second lieutenant; a noncommissioned officer in the army; any inexperienced person. (Military. From a nickname for an untrained mule that is marked by a shaved tail.) Who’s the shavetail dancing with the colonel’s daughter?
close call/shave, a
A narrow escape, a near miss. Both phrases are originally American. The first dates from the 1880s and is thought to come from sports, where a close call was a decision by an umpire or referee that could have gone either way. A close shave is from the early nineteenth century and reflects the narrow margin between smoothly shaved skin and a nasty cut from the razor. Both were transferred to mean any narrow escape from danger. Incidentally, a close shave was in much earlier days equated with miserliness. Erasmus’s 1523 collection of adages has it, “He shaves right to the quick,” meaning he makes the barber give him a very close shave so that he will not need another for some time. Two synonymous modern clichés are too close for comfort and too close to home.