Out of the woods

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Out of the woods is an idiom with roots that stretch into antiquity. We will examine the meaning of the idiom out of the woods, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Out of the woods means out of danger, removed from peril, free from difficulties. Out of the woods is an expression that is used when someone has been in some danger and is now safe, whether physically or figuratively. The phrase is sometimes used in the negative, as in not out of the woods, to mean that someone is still in peril but may soon be safe. Out of the woods and not out of the woods are very often used when describing someone’s health. From time immemorial, the forest has been a dangerous place for humans; it is usually dark with places that hide attacking animals and men. The idiom out of the woods came into use in English in the latter-1700s, though the idea of a metaphor equating emerging from the woods with exiting peril has been in use since ancient Roman times.


“We won’t know if he’s out of the woods for a week or so.” (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

But after surgery, speaking Monday from his hospital bed at Ogden Regional Medical Center as he recuperates, he says he’s “out of the woods, maybe.” (The Standard-Examiner)

But General Manager Gary Wiser told a reporter on Tuesday the North Logan business is “not out of the woods yet” when it comes to dealing with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. (The Herald Journal)