Idioms: By the Skin of Your Teeth

What is the origin of the idion “By the Skin of Your Teeth?’

  1. From the Bible, Job 19:20, “My bone cleaneth to my skin and my flesh and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.”
  1. From the Shakespeare play Othello, in which Iago says to Desdemona, “I shall but love you for all eternity beyond when the weary hand of time both rob you of spirit and leave me only with a hint, the skin of your fair and glistening teeth.”
  1. From an American Indian betting game involving rolling a collection of teeth collected from game animals. At stake was the animal’s skin.  Some Indians attempted to eke out a living this way, but it was said to be a marginal life, “living by the skin and the teeth.”
  1. From a Celtic punishment in which an acidic solution was poured over the teeth of liars and mendicants, leaving the teeth blackened so that all could see. Those who escaped this punishment were said to be saved by the skin of their teeth.