Saving Grace – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Did someone just help you avoid making a terrible mistake? You could call them your 'saving grace.' This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The expression 'saving grace' refers to something or someone that saves or redeems you from a negative life experience. The phrase's original meaning has a religious reference, but it has secular use today.

The religious meaning of the saying refers to 'God's grace' when saving a sinner from eternal damnation. A saving grace relates to something that kept you out of trouble or made a measurable positive difference in your life.

Example Usage

"She really was my saving grace. Without her, I would have ended up on the streets as a teenager. Who knows what I would have done with my life."

"We were walking home and about to give up when a friend drove past and picked us up. She was our saving grace, for sure."

"So, you think you're my saving grace, huh? Well, I have news for you. I don't need your help with any of this. I'll handle it by myself."

"That customer was our saving grace. We just reached this month's budget for the store. Now we all get a bonus in our commission check this month."

"My child was my saving grace. Before I got pregnant, I had no direction in life. My daughter gives me all the inspiration I need to better myself."

"That meal was our saving grace. Without it, we would have had to go hungry tonight, and we would have had no energy to continue the trip tomorrow."

"This legislation acts as a saving grace for all troops stuck overseas. They can come home without receiving a court martial for going AWOL."

"He thinks he's our saving grace, but he's done nothing to contribute to the situation. Someone needs to tell him that he's not the amazing person he thinks he is."

"My tenth-grade teacher was my saving grace in life. She gave me the direction I needed in life. Without her guidance, I would have ended up dead or in prison."


The expression 'saving grace' comes from the Holy Bible. There are several references to this expression in the Bible. The scriptures imply that grace is the 'unearned favor of God, and necessary "because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight."

The first use of God's grace in the Bible is in Romans 3:20, where it appears as follows.

"Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus."

The use of the term in English dates back to the 1500s, referring to the concept of God's grace saving tortured souls from damnation. The phrase appears to have a secular meaning from the 1800s.

Phrases Similar to Saving Grace

  • Redeemer.
  • Feather in your cap.

Phrases Opposite to Saving Grace

  • Worst nightmare.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Saving grace.

Ways People May Say Saving Grace Incorrectly

The expression 'saving grace' has nothing to do with saving a person named 'Grace.' However, there was a title of a movie 'Saving Grace' released in 2000, starring Brenda Blethyn as Grace Trevethen. However, the phrase doesn't apply to saving a person named grace. It's a way to reference something that redeems a negative life experience.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Saving Grace

The expression 'saving grace' means a person, event, or object that redeems you from a negative life experience. It's suitable for use in social and professional settings. For instance, you could use it at work to describe how a big customer spent a huge amount of money in your store, allowing you to reach your monthly budget.

You could use it with friends to describe how someone is your saving grace for picking you up on the side of the road, preventing you from walking a far distance to your home. The phrase describes situations where someone or something saves you from an adverse outcome.

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