luck of the Irish and skin of my teeth???

Guest of Russian origin   Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:50 am GMT
Trying to translate one particular expression from my native language to English I asked for help from another forum's visitors. Among replies I got the following:
I got through by the luck of the Irish!
I got through by the skin of my teeth!

I've myself never seen them before. Can anybody explain them to me?
Uriel   Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:53 am GMT
Luck of the Irish: the Irish are famous for being (undeservedly) lucky. Not sure why, if you look at their country's history, but that's their reputation -- lucky.

Skin of my teeth -- barely! (Okay, there's no REAL skin on teeth, but if there were, it would be very thin indeed.)
j   Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:58 am GMT
Are both expressions pretty similar in the meaning to the "close call?" Do they just sound less 'serious?' Does everyone (I mean an average person who is happens to be a native speaker) understand them?
Uriel   Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:20 am GMT
Well, "skin of your teeth" ALWAYS refers to a close call, but "luck of the Irish" is a little more nebulous. It really just refers to fantastic luck, so it can be applied variously.

I don't know about *everyone* understanding them, but to me they are common expressions.
j   Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:34 am GMT
Thank you a lot, Uriel. You're very helpful, just as you've always been.