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narrow escape

A barely successful flight from or avoidance of danger or trouble, as in He had a narrow escape, since the bullet came within inches of his head. This expression uses narrow in the sense of “barely sufficient.” [ Late 1500s ]
For a newer synonym, see close call
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Examples from the Web for narrow escape
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • However, Pierre had a narrow escape from being knocked down.

  • I was all but starved there, to say nothing of having a narrow escape of being drowned.

    A Hero of Our Time M. Y. Lermontov
  • "You have certainly had a narrow escape," he went on with a congratulatory smile.

    A Nest of Spies Pierre Souvestre
  • I owe you some amends, for you have had a narrow escape of your life this night.

  • The scout turned to Bucks as he stood dazed by his narrow escape.

    The Mountain Divide Frank H. Spearman
  • Even they––used to such adventures as they were––called it a narrow escape.

    Billy Topsail & Company

    Norman Duncan
  • Though thankful for their narrow escape, Oswald feels no elation.

    Oswald Langdon Carson Jay Lee
  • She changed that two or three times and the boy had a narrow escape from Sylvester.

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • "You are alive, but you have had a narrow escape of your life," I answered.

    A Master of Mysteries L. T. Meade

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