A person who “goes by the book” might be someone who does things in a very systematic way. Such people are always following procedures to the letter, not taking any risks or side-stepping any rules.

It is important to go by the book, or to follow the rules. Without following the rules, it will not be possible to complete the task efficiently. For example, if one does not go by the book in a law case, they may make mistakes that could lead to their client losing the case. This can be very problematic because it would result in them not being able to pay their bills and other financial obligations.

The phrase “go by the book” can be used to describe a situation where someone is following their instructions or doing something as expected. The implication is that it’s a step-by-step process and there is little room for improvement.

This phrase is an idiom that can be used in various contexts. The phrase may imply that one should follow instructions to the letter, or it may mean following the rules precisely. It also could mean doing something completely by the book, which means doing what’s required of you to do to the best of your ability without alteration or deviation from the original instructions.


This phrase is used to describe rushing through an activity without giving it the proper attention or making preparations. It is similar to “go with one’s gut.

A common expression of “doing something by the seat of one’s pants” is to do something without any planning or thought. The phrase implies that an individual will often not be careful in what they are doing, and end up wasting time and resources.

Many people are unfamiliar with the phrase “do something by the seat of one’s pants,” but it can be traced back to the literal meaning of the phrase. Such a thing is often done when someone is in an emergency situation where they must act quickly without time for careful consideration or research. For example, if there is a fire and you only have two minutes to escape before an explosion, you would do something by the seat of your pants to get out.


The phrase “by the skin of one’s teeth” is often used to describe a situation where something just barely happens. This could come from the fact that before modern dentistry, people would lose their teeth and sometimes die as a result of infected gums and abscesses. This “just barely happening” mentality can also be applied to people who narrowly escape death through small measures such as not wearing a seat belt or making an illegal turn.

The phrase “by the skin of one’s teeth” is used to convey a narrow victory, victory by an extremely close margin. It is often used as a figure of speech when someone pulls through something with some minor or no injury.

This is an idiom that typically means to barely survive something, often narrowly escaping death. It also may be used to mean barely succeeding at something. This term likely originates from the natural tendency of teeth to chomp down on skin, as if they are barely pulling their skin up off the ground.

Getting out of a difficult situation by the skin of one’s teeth often entails very close margins. It is often an expression of relief for narrowly escaping something, typically when others are less fortunate. When someone uses this expression to describe their experience, they are likely referring to an experience in which they were in danger or faced with significant risk, but managed to escape it with only minimal consequences.

3 thoughts on “BY THE BOOK, GO, BY THE SEAT OF (ONE’S) PANTS, DO (SOMETHING),BY THE SKIN OF (ONE’S) TEETH: American English Idioms #33

  1. Hello , hind fro Iraq.
    -first thing to apply the device by the book , go .
    -to repair a broken device by the seat of ( details ) pant , do something .
    -to solve problem by the skin of (experience old man)teeth.

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