touch and go


Also found in: Dictionary, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

touch and go

Extremely uncertain or risky, as in It was touch and go after the surgery; we were not sure he'd survive it, or It was touch and go but they finally gave me a seat on the plane. This idiom implies that a mere touch may cause a calamity. [Early 1800s]
See also: and, touch

touch and go

COMMON
1. If it is touch and go whether something will happen, you cannot be certain whether it will happen or not. It was touch and go whether she would really go through with the court case. I thought I was going to win the race, but it was still touch and go.
2. If it is touch and go, you are in a very dangerous situation, where people might die. Nancy nearly lost control of the boat. For a few moments it was touch and go.
See also: and, touch

touch and go

(of an outcome, especially one that is desired) possible but very uncertain.
See also: and, touch

touch and go

mod. chancy. It was touch and go for a while, but we are out of the woods now.
See also: and, touch

touch and go

A risky situation. There are times when a ship's captain or pilot must pick the vessel's way through such a narrow channel that its sides might well scrape against rocks or other potentially destructive hazards. Nevertheless, the captain or pilot had no other choice. That is to say, the ship might touch but it had to go regardless of the risk. Hence, this expression for an uncertain enterprise. A literal application of the phrase is an airplane's touching down on the runway, but then immediately lifting off because a normal landing would be dangerous. Pilots practice the maneuver when learning to fly.
See also: and, touch