off the hook


Also, get or let off the hook. Released (or be released) from blame or annoying obligation, as in He was out of town during the robbery so he was off the book, or I don't know how the muggers got off the hook, or Once they found the real culprit, they let Mary off the hook. This idiom alludes to the fish that manages to free itself from the angler's hook and get away. [Mid-1800s]

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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.