Sometimes it’s worth knowing things you never thought you’d need to know.
By the skin of your teeth means a very narrow escape.
The phrase first appears in English in the Geneva Bible, 1560, in Job 19:20, which provides a literal translation of the original Hebrew:
“I haue escaped with the skinne of my tethe.” Which clearly proves that not everything in Bible should be taken literally including spelling.
Teeth don’t have skin. They don’t have hair either, yet we still brush them. The English language is a funny thing. The writer may have been referring to the teeth’s surface or simply to the idea of minute measure. We will never know for sure, because dead men don’t tell tales.
Under no circumstances will you misuse this phrase and say “the skin on my teeth.” Yup. Heard that the other day.
Teeth don’t have skin but noses do.
It’s no skin off my nose.
This is a phrase that originated in the boxing community, a place well known for frequently removing skin from noses (and occasionally removing noses from faces). It basically means “That’s not my concern” or in today’s vernacular “Not my problem, dude.”
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Seriously. That is the correct phrase going all the way back to the 1600s. And pretty much the only way the phrase makes sense. But no one actually says the whole thing so saying it sounds a little silly. First of all, the “pudding” being referred to has nothing to do with the yummy dessert stuff. It was actually a mix of meats (like the inside of a sausage), and if it wasn’t cooked correctly was a fabulous way to make a lot of people sick. Or dead. So proving (or proofing) the pudding was ok meant to taste it (to be sure your guests would be alive for the dessert course).
These days, people often say, “the proof is in the pudding” which doesn’t make a lot of sense once you understand the whole phrase. It turns out that the correct shortened form of the phrase is “the proof of the pudding.” But that sounds silly (imho). My suggestion is to avoid the cliché altogether and come up with something more original.
Have a great day, kiddo.