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no cigar

A phrase said when one is almost correct or successful but ultimately fails. Most commonly heard in the phrase "close but no cigar." Cigars were once commonly used as prizes or awards. You all had some very good guesses—they were close but no cigar.
See also: cigar

close but no cigar

A phrase said when one is almost correct or successful but ultimately fails. Cigars were once commonly used as prizes or awards. You all had some very good guesses—close but no cigar.
See also: but, cigar, close

Close, but no cigar.

Cliché Some effort came close to succeeding, but did not succeed. (Alludes to not quite winning a cigar as a prize.) Jill: How did you do in the contest? Jane: Close, but no cigar. I got second place.
See also: but, cigar

close but no cigar

A narrowly missed success, as in That ball was definitely out-close but no cigar. This interjection alludes to awarding a cigar to the winner of some competition, such as hitting a target. [Slang; early 1900s]
See also: but, cigar, close

close but no cigar


nice try but no cigar

You say close but no cigar or nice try but no cigar to mean that someone is almost correct or that they have almost been successful, but are not quite correct or successful. He tried to break the record. It was close, but no cigar. Note: In the past, cigars were sometimes given as prizes at fairs. This expression may have been used if someone did not quite manage to win a prize.
See also: but, cigar, close

close but no cigar

(of an attempt) almost but not quite successful. North American informal
This phrase possibly originated as a consoling comment to or about a man who put up a good, but not winning, performance in a competition or contest of strength in which the prize was a cigar.
1995 Nick Hornby High Fidelity But, you know…you did not represent my last and best chance of a relationship. So, you know, nice try. Close, but no cigar.
See also: but, cigar, close

close but no ciˈgar

(American English, informal) used to say that the answer, result, etc. is not quite good enoughThis expression comes from the old US custom of giving a cigar as a prize in fairground games of skill, such as shooting games.
See also: but, cigar, close

Close, but no cigar

phr. Close, but not close enough to win a prize! Close, but no cigar! Give it another try.
See also: but, cigar

smoke both ends of the cigar

tv. to perform male to male fellatio. I think they’re smoking both ends of the cigar.
See also: both, cigar, end, of, smoke

a good five-cent cigar

A sensibly affordable item. The remark “What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar” was popularized by Thomas Riley Marshall, vice president of the United States under Woodrow Wilson. In one account, he made the remark while presiding in the Senate after he heard a succession of senators enumerate what was lacking in the United States. The remark, which most likely originated with a 19th-century humorist named Kin Hubbard, was appropriated by several generations of Americans to complain obliquely about overpriced items of any sort.
See also: cigar, good
References in classic literature ?
He stood there, patient and considering, with his small neat foot on a coil of rope, his back to everything that had been disembarked, his neck elongated in its polished cylinder, while the fragrance of his big cigar mingled with the odour of the rotting piles, and his little sister, beside him, hugged a huge post and tried to see how far she could crane over the water without falling in.
Well, John was to come and see us act this evening, but just as we were starting he said he wouldn't; he had got an interesting book and a cigar.
If they didn't like the cigar, why couldn't they say so?
Daughtry," Walter Merritt Emory went on enthusiastically, while he held the steward's eyes with his and while all the time the live end of the cigar continued to rest against Kwaque's finger, "the older I get the more convinced I am that there are too many ill-advised and hasty operations.
I wish Rose would drive a bargain with Will and Geordie also, for I think these books are as bad for the small boys as cigars for the large ones," said Mrs.
I fixed a hypnotic eye on his vest pocket, and he passed out one of his superior cigars, which I burned while he ran through the stuff.
Dunster held his cigar a little way off and looked steadfastly at his host for a moment.
What time the Courier in the rumble, smoking Young john's best cigars, left a little thread of thin light smoke behind--perhaps as he built a castle or two with stray pieces of Mr Dorrit's money.
In most respects, I dare say,' replied Eugene, enjoying his cigar,
It was, in fact, the Honourable Eric Lindon, who had apparently fulfilled his task of escorting Lady Muriel home, and was now strolling leisurely up and down the road outside the house, enjoying; a solitary cigar.
I watched the glowing end of his cigar wax and wane in the gloom, as the sentences rose and fell, till I was nearly asleep.
He looked particularly at me, as if it struck him that I should be better for a dose, so that I bowed to him and left him with the women, going down to smoke a cigar in the garden.
Such was the famous Lord John Roxton as he sat opposite to me, biting hard upon his cigar and watching me steadily in a long and embarrassing silence.
But the stupid world (in the person of the boy at the cigar emporium next door) jeers at such tokens of love.
He lounged along, smoking a large cigar, keen-eyed and observant, laying up for himself a store of impressions, unconsciously irritated at every step by a sense of ostracism, of being in some indefinable manner without kinship and wholly apart from this world, in which it seemed natural now that he should find some place.