have a brush with

Idioms & Phrases

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.

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