neck and neck

neck and neck

Meaning

  • extremely near one another
  • close to an equivalent level especially in a race or a competition
  • so close that the preferred standpoint shifts from person to person in a manner that is not easily distinguished

Example Sentences

  1. The two athletes have been neck and neck for this entire race.
  2. The two technology companies are neck and neck in developing a new operating system for our computers.
  3. The latest opinion poll shows that the race between the republicans and democrats would be neck and neck.
  4. Swansea are currently neck and neck with Leeds for the Championship title.
  5. Both of the runners were neck and neck so it’s difficult to decide the winner.

Origin

The phrase originally developed with reference to horse racing in the early 1800s. Often it is said of a tight race that the winning horse “won by a neck”, because what you see most times are the horses being “neck and neck” and just before the race ends, the winning horse overtakes by a minimal margin. In describing this, the commentator is often heard saying “they were neck and neck but the distance between the winning horse and the second horse was a neck”. Now, the expression is used to describe any close competition, from car races, to elections, to track racing.

Synonyms

  • close
  • equal
  • level
  • on level pegging
  • too close to call
  • with nothing to choose between them

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