close shave

close shave


  • a narrow escape
  • a near-death experience
  • an accident that could have been eluded
  • a shave in which the hair is cut very short or close to the skin (literally)

A person who survives a close shave closely avoids being killed or endangered to other forms of disaster. A close shave is an idiom that refers to the image of a barber shaving a client with a straight-edge razor, which is tremendously sharp and can be fatal if not used properly.  The barber shaves a man’s beard as carefully as possible to get rid of disaster without cutting him.

Example Sentences

  1. I had a close shave last month. A motorist almost knocked me off my bike.
  2. In the last few days, I have experienced a lot of close shaves in my life.
  3. Moses has experienced three car accidents, including a few close shaves, while on his way to work.
  4. John Scott has had a close shave with a scarring Pleasanton bag.
  5. It was a close shave for foreign tourists as their moving bus suddenly caught fire.


The idiomclose shave” has been used for more than a hundred years. Words related to close shave include close, close reach, close season, close ranks, close-reefed, close shot, closestool, closet, close drama, and close stitch. The phrase “a close shave” first appeared between 1825 and 1835, which was referred to as Americanism.


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