be pipped at the post

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be pipped at the post

To be defeated or overcome by someone by a very narrow margin or at the final, crucial moment, especially in a race, competition, or athletic event. Primarily heard in UK, Australia, Ireland. The favoured runner held the lead for the majority of the race, but he was pipped at the post by a relatively unkown competitor in the final 100 metres. It appears the current MP has been pipped at the post, being narrowly defeated by the youngest person to ever serve in parliament.
See also: pip, post

be pipped at/to the post

  (British & Australian)
to be beaten in a competition or race by a very small amount I'd have won quite a lot of money but my horse was pipped to the post.
See also: pip, post