squeak by(redirected from squeaking by)
1. To manage to pass or move by someone or something with great difficulty due to a lack of space. I had to squeak by these two very large gentlemen in order to get off the train. I wasn't sure I had enough room to get the car through the opening, but I managed to squeak by.
2. To manage accomplish something by very narrowly overcoming some difficulty. I thought for sure I had failed the exam, but I managed to squeak by with a D. Their championship dreams looked to be dashed, but a last-minute field goal saw the Raiders squeak by into a spot at the Super Bowl.
3. To manage to survive or subsist within a very narrow margin. This city is so expensive—I have to work two jobs just to squeak by each month. We grow just enough food for our family to squeak by.
squeak by(someone or something)
1. Fig. to manage just to squeeze past someone or something. I squeaked by the fat man in the hallway only to find myself blocked by another. I just barely squeaked by.
2. Fig. to manage just to get past a barrier represented by a person or thing, such as a difficult teacher or an examination. Judy just squeaked by Professor Smith, who has a reputation for flunking students. I took the test and just squeaked by.
Also, squeak through. Manage barely to pass, win, survive, or the like, as in They are just squeaking by on their income, or He squeaked through the driver's test. This idiom transfers squeak in the sense of "barely emit a sound" to "narrowly manage something." [First half of 1900s] Also see squeeze through.
To manage barely to pass, win, or survive someone or something: I squeaked by the first round but won the rest of my matches easily. My parents squeaked by on a limited income.