close, but no cigar

close, but no cigar

Meaning | Synonyms

  • be very close to accomplishing a goal but fall short
  • almost successful in doing something, but not quite
  • fall just short of a desired outcome, and get nothing for the efforts
  • nearly, but not completely correct

Example Sentences

  1. You did quite well for someone who was playing for the first time. You attempt for close, but no cigar.
  2. Close, but no cigar; is how I would describe his attempt at the sports event in our locality.
  3. “How did your team do in the tournament?” “Close, but no cigar; we came second.”
  4. Despite all his attempts at winning the competition, he could never quite do it. It was always close, but no cigar.
  5. The team’s performance in the contest was close, but no cigar.
  6. He had always wanted to win that prize and on numerous occasions had been close, but no cigar. This time, though, he managed to win it.
  7. They didn’t quite catch him doing it. They were close, but no cigar.


The phrase is originated in the United States, likely during the mid 20th century. It alludes to the practice of stalls at fairgrounds and carnivals giving out cigars as prizes. This phrase would be used for those who were close to winning a prize, but failed to do so.

The earliest printed record of the phrase that we can found is in the Long Island Daily Press on May 18, 1929, with the idiom appearing as the headline of the article titled “Close; But No Cigar”, about a man named Hugo Straub who ended second in two presidential races he was running that finished in the same week.

After this, the phrase began to emerge throughout the United States of America.

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C 3 Thoughts

3 Thoughts

It says you attempt was close

- Anonymous September 21, 2020

Also was a NASCAR contingency award

- Woody December 9, 2017

Hi am I just want something else I can say to say yes to my mom I will be kind a little bit more about the weekend but I’m going back home 🏡

- Hi October 30, 2017

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Idiom of the Day

loose cannon

Meaning: somebody whose activities are uncommon and out of control

Example: He was a loose cannon and could not be risked in front of the press. Read on


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