By a whisker


“Whisker” you may know. Cats have whiskers (bigotes), as do many animals. Cats use their whiskers to feel their way around. Some men have whiskers, that is, a mustache.

Here the focus is on idioms (modismos) that use “whisker”. Examine these:

  • Mr. Sanchez became Prime Minister “by a whisker” (por un pelo). Or you could say “by a cat’s whisker”. He got 167 votes in his favour and 165 against – a narrow margin, or by a whisker.
  • There is also the structure “within a whisker of”. An example: Mr. Sanchez came within a whisker of losing the vote (…faltó un pelo para que perdiera…).
  • The bullet (bala) missed the soldier by a whisker.
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