saved by the bell

Idioms & Phrases

saved by the bell

Rescued from a difficulty at the last moment, as in I couldn't put off explaining his absence any longer, but then Bill arrived and I was saved by the bell. This expression alludes to the bell rung at the end of a boxing round, which, if it rings before a knocked-down boxer has been counted out, lets him get up and continue fighting in the next round. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.

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