win, lose, etc. by a short head

by a short head

By an extremely slim or narrow margin. The race was neck and neck till the very end, but Sally won it by a short head. They started to make a startling comeback in the second half, but the defending champions managed to hold them off by a short head at the final moments of the game.
See also: head, short

win, lose, etc. by a short ˈhead

win, lose, etc. but by only a little: The competition was tough but the winner by a short head was John Smith.This expression refers to a close finish in horse racing.
See also: head, short