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Is there any expression in English that would describe an act of literally saving someone from near death?

I am especially interested in an expression that would use the word "noose".

This dictionary gives such expressions like "the noose is hanging", "put (one's) head in a noose", and "stick your head in a noose"; so, they all describe a situation, in which someone is near death, but they don't describe an act of saving someone from that situation.

An example sentence would be:

Yesterday we entered the room and saw him standing on a chair ready to hang himself. So, without thinking much, we went ahead and _____________ .

  • It isn't clear what kind of situation you would apply this in. The "noose" expressions are used figuratively, to the extent they're used at all. So those aren't really about near death. Are you looking for an expression about literally saving someone from near death, or an expression about saving someone from a tough situation, where the "noose" expressions would be used? Please add an actual example of how you want to use it. – fixer1234 Aug 22 '18 at 23:22
  • @fixer1234 - "Are you looking for an expression about literally saving someone from near death" - Yes. "Please add an actual example of how you want to use it" - Something like "Yesterday we entered the room and saw him standing on a chair ready to hang himself. So, without thinking much, we went ahead and _____________" – brilliant Aug 23 '18 at 2:15
  • de-noosed? Un-noosed? Even in the kind of situation you describe involving a literal noose, people would be apt to say they "cut him down". In current language, phrases like "stick your head in a noose" are no longer meant literally, so I doubt you'll find a "noose" phrase that means literally saving a person from near death. Even "saved from the noose" is no longer meant literally. – fixer1234 Aug 23 '18 at 2:31
  • @fixer1234 - This sounds quite strange. He literally had a noose around his neck, he literally was about to use that noose to kill himself, and yet I can't describe this situation with a phrase containing the word "noose". – brilliant Aug 23 '18 at 2:42
  • You could say his head (or neck) was in a noose, but you'd probably need to add "literally" or provide other context for people to understand that you meant the phrase in a literal sense. In modern times, hanging is rare, and saving someone from hanging is way rarer than that. There's no need for a "noose"-specific word or phrase for saving someone from hanging. For example, on TV shows when someone is found right after hanging themselves or being hanged, the rescuers will use a phrase like "cut him down" to refer to saving the person. – fixer1234 Aug 23 '18 at 3:02
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"The noose is hanging" is a strange phrase that I've never heard, but it could perhaps be used properly given the proper context. Note that this context is almost certainly never literal. I'd imagine it used in the context where a trap has been set for someone, but not usually one which results in their death.

One of the examples for it sounds very strange to me:

I prepped the lab for the experiment, so the noose is hanging, whenever you want to begin.

I can't imagine anyone saying this in this context. This sounds like an antiquated phrase.

As for "put (one's) head in a noose" and "stick your head in a noose," both of the example sentences you link sound very strange. I'd contend that in modern US English, most people would use "shot in the foot."

So instead of:

He had a real shot at winning the election, but he put his head in the noose with such inflammatory remarks.

I'd prefer:

He had a real shot at winning the election, but he shot himself in the foot with such inflammatory remarks.

This phrase is meant to convey carelessness on the subject's part that inflicts damage to them.

Note that in the original, it actually said "put his head in the noose in the foot" (which is nonsense). This suggests that at one point the phrase was (or was supposed to be) "shot himself in the foot" anyway.

For the second example, I'd use "stick their neck out" instead of "put their head in the noose". So instead of:

Everyone knew the idea was bad, but no one was willing to put their head in the noose and criticize it during the meeting.

I'd say:

Everyone knew the idea was bad, but no one was willing to stick their neck out and criticize it during the meeting.

Here the phrase does somewhat evoke imagery of executions. It (hyperbolically) suggests that someone would be willing to risk being executed by the guillotine to do something. Although, everyday usage is never that literal.

Hopefully, you see the pattern here that phrases like this are rarely used that literally.

For your context (and given your other question about words surrounding a suicide), I'd suggest the phrase "talked down from the ledge" to indicate saving someone from a suicide.

If the near death incident is some sort of bodily harm (particularly an illness), I'd use "nursed back to health:"

The flu nearly killed the child, but her parents nursed her back to health.

You may also use the phrase "guardian angel" to describe such a person who saves someone from near death.

But, I don't think you'll come across many phrases that uses "noose" so literally.

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There’s the expression saved from the jaws of death (and its variants).

Macmillan explains:

in the jaws of something (phrase) in an extremely unpleasant emotional state or in a frightening, dangerous situation : in the jaws of defeat/madness

while M-W states:

jaws of death (noun phrase) dying or being killed : He barely escaped from the jaws of death.

Although I think the Know Your Phrase website explains the idiom best:

Jaws of Death
Meaning: Death or a deadly situation. This phrase is sometimes said as "out of the jaws of death," and it's frequently used to mean a person escaped from a very dangerous situation.

The phrase is often preceded by a dramatic verb, such as plucked or snatched, and TFD even lists the idiom as:

be snatched from the jaws of death
To be rescued at the last moment from near or certain death. The drowning fishermen were snatched from the jaws of death by a passing cruise ship.

The expression was used in the opening of a news story on a website:

This is the moment a man was plucked from the jaws of death by a lifeboat crew in a dramatic night-time river rescue.

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    There’s also an expression “saved from the noose,” but that’s typically used less figuratively; that is, it seems to be used most often when the person truly was under the threat of being hanged (although “put your head in a noose” is often used figuratively.) – J.R. Aug 22 '18 at 8:14

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