to save (one's) life

(redirected from to save my life)

to save (one's) life

Regardless of one's effort, passion, or desire. Used after a negative verb construction to emphasize one's inability to do it. Ugh, this art assignment is so annoying—I can't draw an apple to save my life. Rachel is so selfish! It's like she couldn't consider another person's feelings to save her life.
See also: life, save, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

to save one's life

Even if one's life depended on it, as in I couldn't eat another bite to save my life, or Betty wouldn't climb a mountain to save her life. This hyperbolic expression nearly always follows a negative statement that one wouldn't or couldn't do something. Anthony Trollope used a slightly different wording in The Kellys and the O'Kellys (1848): "I shan't remain long, if it was to save my life and theirs; I can't get up small talk for the rector and his curate."
See also: life, save, to
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.

to save your life

used in various expressions, especially can't (or couldn't ) do something to save your life , to indicate that the person in question is very incompetent at doing something.
The first recorded use of this expression is by Anthony Trollope in The Kellys and O'Kellys ( 1848 ): ‘If it was to save my life and theirs, I can't get up small talk for the rector and his curate’.
See also: life, save, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

to save (one's) life

No matter how hard one tries: He can't ski to save his life.
See also: life, save, to
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in classic literature ?
This man, it seemed to me, had come out of Immensity merely to save my life. To-morrow he would drop over the side, and vanish again out of my existence.
The Prince replied: 'I had to look after a mare and foal, and they have run away from me and have hidden themselves in the river; if you wish to save my life drive them back to the land.'
'My mare and foal,' replied the Prince, 'have run away from me, and have hidden themselves in the clouds; if you wish to save my life, restore both animals to me.'
The doctor has now advised that I should no longer have babies in order to save my life. He has even suggested that I remove my womb but I am afraid.
Freeview A Year to Save My Life: George McGavin and Melanoma BBC Four, 9pm Documentary following the biologist as he undergoes treatment for cancer.
Obese: A Year to Save My Life USA, Sky Living, 8pm Obese: A Year to Save My Life USA, Sky Living, 8pm David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies, Sky1, 7pm Conquest of the Skies, Sky1, 7pm New Year's Day Concert from Vienna 2015, BBC4, 7pm New Year's Day Concert from Vienna 2015, BBC4, 7pm Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, E4, 8pm Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, E4, 8pm Obese: A Year to Save My Life USA, Sky Living, 8pm Obese: A Year to Save My Life USA, Sky Living, 8pm David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies, Sky1, 7pm Conquest of the Skies, Sky1, 7pm New Year's Day Concert from Vienna 2015, BBC4, 7pm New Year's Day Concert from Vienna 2015, BBC4, 7pm Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, E4, 8pm Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, E4, 8pm
People in that hospital fought to save my life and now I'm helping in the fight to save the hospital."