have a brush with


Have an encounter or come in conflict with, as in This was not the first time that Bob had a brush with the law. This expression alludes to the noun brush in the sense of “a hostile collision,” a usage dating from about 1400.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.