Touch and Go

Situations can be “touch and go” which implies that they are dangerous and uncertain in nature or outcome.  Touch and go situations are precarious, risky,  and delicate.

Riding in a stage coach can be touch and go, pci:

Here are some examples for how to use the term:

“After the bad accident my father had it was touch and go for a few days but now he is much better.”

“We had to land the plane in a bad thunderstorm.  It was a touch and go situation.”

This phrase originated, I suspected, in a sports, e.g. baseball but that is actually not the case.  The idiom dates back to the age of stage coaches that had to pass each other on narrow bad roads.  If the coaches came to close to each other the wheels would become entangled and an accident would result.  If they merely touched and then went on they were lucky.


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