within an inch of something/of doing something
within an inch of (someone or something)
1. Right up next to someone or something; very close to something physically. I swear, the car was within an inch of us as it swerved by—I even thought could feel the side mirror brush against my sleeve! If you come within an inch of us again, I'll get a restraining order from the police!
2. Extremely close to doing, achieving, or obtaining something, typically having failed by a very narrow margin. I came within an inch of winning that race, but I guess I'll have to settle for second place. They were within an inch of defeat when the quarterback threw a Hail Mary for a last-second touchdown. Crude oil prices came within an inch of $80 a barrel on Friday, threatening to plunge markets further into recession around the globe.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
within an ˈinch of something/of doing somethingvery near/close to something/to doing something: I came within an inch of death in that car accident. ♢ They came within an inch of winning the match. ♢ They beat him within an inch of his life (= very severely).
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
within an inch of
Almost to the point of: came within an inch of death.
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.