Saved by the bell means to escape catastrophe through a last-minute intervention. The phrase saved by the bell is derived from the sport of boxing. When a boxer is knocked to the ground, he must get back to his feet before the referee counts to ten or the victory will be awarded to his opponent. However, if the end-of-round bell sounds before the prone boxer is counted out, then he is allowed to continue fighting in the next round. When the bell rings before a boxer can be counted out, he is said to have been saved by the bell. Today, the phrase has become a metaphor for anyone who escapes a catastrophe through some type of last-minute intervention. The story that states that the phrase saved by the bell started with eighteenth-century coffins equipped with bells for people to ring if they found themselves buried alive, is apocryphal. While the bell-quipped coffins were real inventions, the term saved by the bell is properly attributed to boxing lingo.
Trevor Kershaw won the title, beating Paul Devitt by one point after being saved by the bell. (The Telegraph and Argus)
Timothy Bradley saved by the bell in win over Jessie Vargas as interim WBO title bout is farcically ended 10 seconds early (The Daily Mail)
“She was saved by the bell,” Dunton said. “She was saved by the fact that he would stop forcing himself on her when there was a possibility he would get caught.” (The St. Augustine Record)
“We were crossing our fingers. We were saved by the bell on this one. Today’s news was incredible,” she said. (The Bismarck Tribune)
“I was saved by the bell,” she said from in front of her porch, which is already starting to look better. (The Appleton Post-Crescent)