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a near thing
1. An unpleasant, dangerous, or disastrous event or outcome that one narrowly avoids. No one was hurt in the accident, but it was a near thing—if the fuel tank had been hit, we all would have died. It was a near thing, but thankfully the emergency surgery managed to remove the cancerous tissue before it spread to other parts of my body. The last-minute deal will avert a government shutdown, but it will have been a near thing.
2. A very narrow margin of success or failure. After finding out I got the job, I learned from a friend within the company that it was a near thing due to the yearlong gap in my résumé. It was a near thing in the final moments of the race, but the former champion was unable to overcome the lead of his rival.
Something just barely effected, as in That election was a near thing-he won by a handful of votes. [Mid-1700s]
a close/near ˈthing,
a close-run ˈthing(informal)
1 a competition, an election, a race, etc. which you only just succeed in winning: I know we won, but believe me, it was a near thing. They could easily have beaten us.
2 a punishment, an accident, etc. which you only just avoided: The police searched the house but they didn’t find him. It was a close-run thing.