The English expression “hanging by a thread” is in German “am seidenen Faden hängen”. It means that a situation is risky, unstable, threatened, and the probability of a bad situation turning worse is very high.
After the accident, her life was hanging by a thread. = Nach dem Unfall hing ihr Leben am seidenen Faden. (“Nach dem Unfall wäre sie fast gestorben”)
The decision whether he may keep his job hangs by a thread. = Die Entscheidung, ob er seine Arbeit behält, hängt am seidenen Faden.
Historically, this expression goes back to the sword of