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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.
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.
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
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.'
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]
Close, but no cigar(klos...)
phr. Close, but not close enough to win a prize! Close, but no cigar! Give it another try.
smoke both ends of the cigar
tv. to perform male to male fellatio. I think they’re smoking both ends of the cigar.
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.