Idiom: 'saved by the bell'

English Idioms and Expressions, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #20 [color=blue]“English Idioms and Phrases”, question 9

Kyle was saved by the bell when his sister walked in and asked him to take her to ballet practice.

(a) rescued from an unwanted situation
(b) detained from his duty
© obligated to comply
(d) obliged to cooperate

English Idioms and Expressions, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #20 [color=blue]“English Idioms and Phrases”, answer 9

Kyle was rescued from an unwanted situation when his sister walked in and asked him to take her to ballet practice.

Correct answer: (a) rescued from an unwanted situation

Your answer was: [color=green]correct
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Does unwanted situation here mean somewhere around ‘luckily unexpected help’? If so, the unwanted would turn into a ‘nearly wanted’ or even ‘welcomed’ meaning. How should I make out this phrase?

haihao

Hi Haihao

The idiom “saved by the bell” comes originally from boxing. The end of each round of boxing is signaled by a bell. So, if a boxer is in danger of being knocked out (and thus losing the boxing match) when the bell rings, he has been “saved” from losing the match.

The idiom is used when something unpleasant or unwanted is just about to happen and then, at the last minute, something else happens which prevents the unpleasant activity from taking place.

Amy

Hi Amy,

Thank you so much again for the detailed and considerate explanation. Now I guess I understand not only the idiom but the story about it as a bonus! Also, I got aware of my wrong understanding of the word ‘from’ in reading your depiction.

Gratefully,
haihao