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By the skin of (one's) teeth; used as an adverb

Context #1

Laurie: Hey
Alfonso! Wait, why are you all sweaty?

Alfonso: I
almost missed the bus.

Laurie: What?
You’re always on time!

Normally, but I forgot to change my clocks after the time change and only
realized when I looked at my phone, which updated automatically. I ran to the
bus stop, and it was already there, and I barely caught it by the skin of my teeth.

Laurie: Good
thing! This bus only runs once an hour!

Meaning:The expression “by the skin of
(one’s) teeth” means “just barely”. This idiom is used when
something was extremely close, as in the above example, where Alfonso nearly
missed the bus.  In addition to just barely doing something on time, “by
the skin of (one’s) teeth” can also be used to show how close a
competition was, as in the next example:

Context #2

Beatriz: Did
you watch the basketball game last night?

Drew: Yeah.
I’m so glad our team won, but that finale was intense!

Beatriz: I
know! It really came down to the final seconds, but they pulled it off by the skin of their teeth.

Drew: That
last shot was amazing!

Meaning:In this example, the basketball team that
Beatriz and Drew were rooting for won a game, but in an extremely close match.



  1. Post comment

    Thanks a whole freaking lot for sharing another great American expression, dude … Can't wait for more … You kick some major ass … Say hi to everyone at ICE for us!!

    Russian ESL students


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