What Does It Mean to 'Have a Narrow Escape'?

Imagine you're walking down the street, and a flower pot falls from a window sill, landing right where you were standing a second ago. You'd say you 'had a narrow escape'—meaning you just barely avoided a potentially harmful situation. 🚀

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The Roots of 'Have a Narrow Escape'

This idiom dates back to the late 18th century and is believed to derive from the physical narrowness of an escape route, which requires a precise and often lucky passage to avoid danger.

Fascinating Aspects of 'Have a Narrow Escape'

While the idiom is quite literal, it has been used in literature to add suspense and drama, often highlighting a character's good fortune or quick thinking in the face of peril.

Examples Bringing 'Have a Narrow Escape' to Life

Here's how the phrase is used:

  • The cyclist had a narrow escape when a car swerved to avoid him at the last moment.
  • During the hike, we had a narrow escape when we avoided walking into a bear's path.
  • She had a narrow escape from being fired after her boss discovered the mistake just in time.

Proper Usage of 'Have a Narrow Escape'

The idiom is versatile and can be used in various contexts, from everyday conversations to narrative writing, to describe any situation where a bad outcome is narrowly avoided.

'Have a Narrow Escape' FAQs

Can 'Have a Narrow Escape' be used for non-dangerous situations?

Yes, it can be applied metaphorically to any close call, even if the stakes are not life-threatening.

Is this idiom used in formal contexts?

It's more common in informal speech, but it can be used in formal narratives to convey a close avoidance of a negative outcome.

How can learning this idiom benefit ESL students?

Understanding idioms like this can enhance comprehension of English texts and films, as well as enrich the student's own speaking and writing.

Are there similar expressions in other languages?

Many languages have their own version of 'Have a Narrow Escape,' often with similar imagery of escaping through a tight space or just in time.

Ready to chat like a pro and toss around idioms like confetti? Jump into Metkagram's totally free English Idioms course and start slinging those phrases with style. Just a click and you're in! Let's get this idiom party started! 🎉

This piece reflects the expertise of Metkagram's team of linguists. Explore our language learning innovations on our LinkedIn page.

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