down to the wire

go down to the wire


  • a situation where the outcome is not decided until the very end
  • something that ends in the last minute
  • until the last moment
  • become clear at the last moment

Example Sentences

  1. With both teams being equally matched and putting up an exceptional display, the match was very exiting and went down to the wire.
  2. Since both the candidates are equally popular, this year’s election looks to be going down to the wire.
  3. With the deadline coming up and the project not being on track, the team worked right down to the wire to complete it on time.
  4. The race went down to the wire with the local favourite winning it by a very small margin.
  5. They had a treasure hunt contest and it went down to the wire, with two teams being neck and neck most of the time.
  6. They went down to the wire and it was impossible to tell who would win till the very last moment.

The phrase originated in horse racing, where a wire was hung above the finish line to help determine the winner. Races that were very close were described as coming down to the wire. An early occurrence of the phrase can be found in the Scribner’s Magazine in July 1889, in an article titled “How the Derby Was Won”.

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