slip through fingers

slip through (one's) fingers

1. To fail to catch, capture, or maintain custody of someone, usually due to his or her cunning or trickery. The officers very nearly apprehended the suspect, but he slipped through their fingers at the last second. We had the cell guarded by three people, but she still managed to slip through our fingers somehow.
2. To fail to achieve something or make use of an opportunity. I had a chance to be a part of a Broadway musical once, but I was too unsure of myself and the opportunity slipped through my fingers. We've been training too hard to let another championship title slip through our fingers again this year!
See also: finger, slip, through

slip through someone's fingers

1. Lit. to slide through and out of one's grasp. The glass slipped through his fingers and crashed to the ground. The rope slipped through his fingers and followed the anchor to the bottom of the lake.
2. Fig. to escape from someone; to elude someone's capture or control. The prisoner slipped through the sheriff's fingers. Don't let Max slip through your fingers again this time!
See also: finger, slip, through
References in periodicals archive ?
As a whole the CD is relentlessly pleasant--dreamy, a little wistful, a bit insecure about love ("Try to hold you in my hand / Slip through fingers shifty like sand," Trimble sings in "You Freed Yourself").