to save one’s bacon

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Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to save up

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b) to avoid harm

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If someone or something saves your bacon, they get you out of a dangerous or difficult situation, they rescue you from failure, danger or disaster.

The phrase is informal, and British.

Other related English expressions that also mean to prevent harm or avoid disaster are ‘save one’s neck’ and ‘save one’s skin’.

French translation

sauver sa peau

How NOT to translate : *sauver son bacon
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Examples in the press

‘Farmers are suffering from Brexit – and Boris Johnson won’t save their bacon

Brexit is causing a pile-up of pigs on farms - with farmers unable to afford to feed them.

It has been a gloomy week on the sunlit uplands of sovereign Britain, as Boris Johnson continues his assault on David Cameron’s title as the prime minister you’d least like to leave in charge of a piggery.

While Johnson sizzles in Marbella, there’s no-one to save the bacon of the 4,500 porkers who the National Farmers’ Union say will be shot with bolt guns or given lethal injections before being incinerated this week. That will take the tally of pigs destroyed without entering the food chain to over 5,000, with possibly another 115,000 to come.’

The New European, 12 Oct. 2021

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‘Pests or Panacea – Could insects save our bacon ?

Even the name, entomophogy, the term for human consumption of insects, doesn’t sound very appetising. A bit of a mouthful. Yet it’s a taste the western world may want to develop.

Insects are already a valued source of nourishment for two billion people. In 80% of the world’s nations, people eat insects – between 1,000 and 2,000 species of them. In parts of Africa and Asia insects are a staple part of the diet. Meanwhile, in the western world, insects are a culinary curiosity, but that is changing. Some UK restaurants, like Mexican chain Wahaca, have been serving up insects in various dishes for a while. And a growing number of start-ups are selling snacks and cooking ingredients based on insects, mainly online.’

Ayming, 21 March 2019

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Everyday usage

Thanks for lending me this cash - you’re really saving my bacon.

Our Roumanian subsidiary is in dire need of new investors to save their bacon.

EnglishTonic and Claramedia, 16 Oct. 2021

c) to lie

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