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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

almost but not exactly what you had hoped for or wanted Vince never got that big win he wanted - it was always close but no cigar.
Etymology: from games of skill or chance in which the person who won would get a cigar as a prize
See also: but, cigar

Close, but no cigar.

  (American & Australian humorous)
something that you say to someone if what they tell you or what they do is nearly correct but not completely
Usage notes: A cigar (= a type of thick cigarette) was sometimes used as a prize in games and competitions people paid to play.
'Is his name Howard?' 'Close, but no cigar. It's Harold.'
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

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 ?
I didn't say a word, but with extreme courtesy, I may say with most refined courtesy, I reached my finger and thumb over towards the poodle, took it up delicately by the nape of the neck, and chucked it out of the window, after the cigar.
Coulson said, sticking his cigar in a corner of his mouth and leaning back in a comfortable attitude, "but it does seem to me that you are none too rapid on this side in clearing up these matters.
You big fella fool too much," Van Horn retorted harshly, dropping his gun into the stern-sheets, motioning to rowers and steersman to turn the boat around, and puffing his cigar as carelessly casual as if, the moment before, life and death had not been the debate.
Nor did she look at the juxtaposition of cigar and finger, although she knew by the evidence of her nose that it still obtained.
Besides my cigar, do you smell anything else--vile, abominable, overpowering, indescribable, never-never-never-smelt before?
and Rose looked up at the bonny Prince, who never looked less bonny than at that moment, for he had resumed his cigar just to torment her.
I would have thought no more of knifing him than of smoking this cigar.
They established themselves comfortably in the veranda seat; Father Brown, against his common habit, accepted a good cigar and smoked it steadily in silence, while the rain shrieked and rattled on the roof of the veranda.
Leith dreamily surveyed the long ash of his cigar and turned to me.
Dunster, shaved and clothed, was seated in an easy-chair drawn up to the window of his room, smoking what he was forced to confess was a very excellent cigar.
After dinner, when Dolly went away to her own room, Anna rose quickly and went up to her brother, who was just lighting a cigar.
His gray beard was stained with streaks of tobacco juice, and he was smoking a cigar.
The Prince had lit a large cigar, and was apparently on the best of terms with himself and the world in general.
In the smoking-room of Lady Wetherby's house, chewing the dead stump of a once imposing cigar, Dudley Pickering sat alone with his thoughts.
You choose a cigar, you try it, and it disappoints you.