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Hang in the balance

Definitions

  • Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Hang in the balance to be in doubt or suspense
    • ***

Idioms

Hang in the balance - If an outcome is hanging in the balance, there are at least two possibilities and it is impossible to predict which will win out.
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. hangian, causal form of hón, pa.t. heng, pa.p. hangen; Dut. and Ger. hangen, Goth. hahan.

Usage

In literature:

Our whole enterprise hangs still in the balance.
"Gallipoli Diary, Volume 2" by Ian Hamilton
Disaster hangs in a dizzy balance as he whirls round and round and the heavily loaded sled pulls horse backwards down the hill.
"The History of the American Expedition Fighting the Bolsheviki" by Joel R. Moore
Remember how much hangs in the balance for you!
"Uncle Sam's Boys in the Philippines" by H. Irving Hancock
The door, hanging off balance, screeched open; air swooshed past him in its sudden escape from the room.
"The Beast of Space" by F.E. Hardart
The whole future seemed to hang in the balance, and she waited, dreading yet longing, to see the scale turn.
"The History of Sir Richard Calmady" by Lucas Malet
That the big company would step humbly aside for them, with a fortune hanging in the balance?
"Gold in the Sky" by Alan Edward Nourse
Betty's life was still hanging in the balance, although the doctors were not nearly so anxious as they had been the day before.
"Betty Vivian" by L. T. Meade
The fate of Przemysl hangs in the balance.
"The Secret Witness" by George Gibbs
Is one that hangs in the balance with all sorts of opinions, whereof not one but stirs him and none sways him.
"Microcosmography" by John Earle
My fortune still hangs in the balance.
"Major Frank" by A. L. G. Bosboom-Toussaint
It is by the dictate of an Almighty Power, that the heavy body of the earth hangs in balance.
"Museum of Antiquity" by L. W. Yaggy
Be glad your lives weren't hanging in the balance.
"The Electronic Mind Reader" by John Blaine
Great events are always on the wing: the issue of the contest is perpetually hanging, often almost even, in the balance.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine -- Volume 57, No. 351, January 1845" by Various
It is Karen's happiness that hangs in the balance.
"Tante" by Anne Douglas Sedgwick
What matters a few more moments of existence to one like him, when the eternal welfare of a human being hangs trembling in the balance?
"Graham's Magazine Vol XXXIII No. 4 October 1848" by Various
Your liberty hangs in the balance.
"Calumet 'K'" by Samuel Merwin
You might take that spring balance which hangs out in the kitchen.
"Letters of a Radio-Engineer to His Son" by John Mills
Even now I would have kept silence, but the honour of your house hangs in the balance.
"Marguerite De Roberval" by T. G. Marquis
Remember life hangs in the balance.
"Vashti" by Augusta J. Evans Wilson
The right knee should grasp the second pommel firmly, but not hang upon it in order to help the rider keep her seat and balance.
"The American Horsewoman" by Elizabeth Karr
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In poetry:

Weird are the plains—the plains that wait for the dawn
When the shadowy darkness strives with the sickly light,
And the battle hangs in the balance, finely drawn,
Till the spears of morning pierce through the mail of night.
"The Plains" by George Essex Evans

In news:

Claudio Ranieri's job was hanging in the balance on Friday after a disastrous defensive performance saw his Inter Milan side lose 3-0 at home to struggling Bologna in Serie A.
Barack Obama and Sen Kirsten Gillibrand won re-election on Tuesday night, but there were other important New York City races hanging in the balance on Election Day.
Several Auburn-area races hang in the balance.
The Cowboys' season was delicately hanging in the balance.
I had to beg doctors for an abortion even though my life was hanging in the balance.
The future of Scandinavia's flagship airline SAS hangs in the balance even though it concluded deals Monday with the vast majority of its pilot and cabin crew unions.
Small business owners continue to struggle with employee health benefits as the healthcare bill hangs in the balance.
As Rowlett tries again to tame its undeveloped frontier, benefits from a $120 million to $140 million subdivision unlike any the city has seen before hang in the balance.
Morgan's life hangs in the balance.
With a $1 billion verdict hanging in the balance, feuding tech titans Apple (AAPL) and Samsung return to federal court this week armed with the latest legal ammunition in their global smartphone and tablet war.
Growth and product innovation hang in the balance.
It was a simple enough question, but I realized the fate of a treasured shirt was hanging in the balance.
Races in Arizona Still Hang in the Balance.
5 Top Women's Issues That Hang in the Election Balance.
Everything up to the jobs of the head coach and general manager may hang in the balance.
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In science:

Why is this debate between camps one and two even important? Because the life or death of the hidden variables program (advocated by those such as Einstein, Bohm, and Bell who were dissatisfied with the Copenhagen quantum theory) hangs in the balance.
Bell Locality and the Nonlocal Character of Nature
The idea of the experiment is to start with a box, filled with radiation, hanging stationary in the gravitational field (after a preliminary balancing procedure).
Complementarity in the Bohr-Einstein Photon Box
A freely hanging torsion balance responds only to a difference in the directions of the external force vectors on the test bodies and not on their magnitudes (see figure 1).
Torsion-balance tests of the weak equivalence principle
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