hang in the balance

Idioms & Phrases

hang in the balance

Be in a precarious condition or in a state of suspense. For example, The doctor said her life was hanging in the balance. This expression alludes to the suspended balance scale where an object is placed in one pan and weights are added one by one to the other pan until the two are balanced. [First half of 1400s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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