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English Idiom: “Hang By A Thread” also “Hang By A Hair” – to be in a risky or unstable situation…This expression already proverbial in the early 1500’s alludes to Damocles who vexed king Dionysius with constant flattery. The King invited him to a banquet where Damocles found himself seated under a naked sword suspended by a single hair, symbolizing his insecure position at the court.
– Courtesy of The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, by Christine Ammer
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