slip through fingers

slip through (one's) fingers

1. To narrowly avoid being caught, captured, or maintained in custody by one, usually due to cunning or trickery by the one being pursued. 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 narrowly fail to be attained, achieved, or seized upon by one. 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

slip through one's fingers, to let

To fail to seize an opportunity. This metaphor has been around since the seventeenth century. Beaumont and Fletcher used it in The Prophetess (1622, 3.2): “Hold her fast, She’ll slip thorow your fingers like an Eel else.”
See also: let, 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").