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a good five-cent cigar

Something that is well or reasonably priced. We need a good five-cent cigar, not more of these ridiculously overpriced items.
See also: cigar, good

close, but no cigar

cliché A phrase said when one is almost correct or successful but ultimately fails. Cigars were once commonly used as prizes or awards. A: "Is the answer 73?" B: "Ooh, close, but no cigar. It's 75, actually." The team captain shoots the puck at the wide-open net, but it bounces off the post! Close, but no cigar!
See also: but, cigar, no

no cigar

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, no
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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, no
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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, no
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

close but no cigar


nice try but no cigar

You say close but no cigar or nice try but no cigar to mean that someone is almost correct or that they have almost been successful, but are not quite correct or successful. He tried to break the record. It was close, but no cigar. Note: In the past, cigars were sometimes given as prizes at fairs. This expression may have been used if someone did not quite manage to win a prize.
See also: but, cigar, close, no
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

close but no cigar

(of an attempt) almost but not quite successful. North American informal
This phrase possibly originated as a consoling comment to or about a man who put up a good, but not winning, performance in a competition or contest of strength in which the prize was a cigar.
1995 Nick Hornby High Fidelity But, you know…you did not represent my last and best chance of a relationship. So, you know, nice try. Close, but no cigar.
See also: but, cigar, close, no
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

close but no ciˈgar

(American English, informal) used to say that the answer, result, etc. is not quite good enoughThis expression comes from the old US custom of giving a cigar as a prize in fairground games of skill, such as shooting games.
See also: but, cigar, close, no
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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, no

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
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

close but no cigar, (it was)

Nearly successful, but not quite. This slangy Americanism dates from the first half of the twentieth century. It most likely came from the practice of giving a cigar as a prize to the winner of a contest, such as hitting the target in a carnival shooting gallery.
See also: but, close, no
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

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
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in classic literature ?
"It's Rose," and Archie threw his cigar into the fire.
As Rose bent to warm her hands, one end of Archie's cigar stuck out of the ashes, smoking furiously and smelling strongly.
"You too?" 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.
The cigar was snatched away exactly as you describe, and the poodle was chucked out of the window after it.
'My dear fellow,' said Eugene, as he lighted another cigar, 'I fear my unexpected visitors have been troublesome.
His friend made no direct reply, but observed, after a few whiffs of his cigar, 'Don't mistake the situation.
You are ruffled by the want of another cigar. Take one of these, I entreat.
My cook, my cellar, my cigar cabinets, are at your disposal.
The other hand held the cigar which he was smoking.
But Van Horn, with Jerry panting under his hand, placidly and philosophically continued to smoke, lighting a fresh cigar when the first gave out.
Pulling the stick of dynamite out from the twist of his loin cloth and glancing at the cigar to be certain it was alight, he rose to his feet with leisurely swiftness and with leisurely swiftness gained the rail.
Richard Vanderpole,--that you were," he continued, knocking the ash off his cigar and speaking a little more slowly, "the last person, except the driver of the taxicab, to have seen him alive."
The Inspector looked thoughtfully at the end of the fresh cigar which he had just lit.
Father Brown let fall the ash of his cigar and went on:
And he waved his burning cigar before him in the darkness, making irregular squares so rapidly that Flambeau really seemed to see them as fiery hieroglyphics upon the darkness--hieroglyphics such as his friend had spoken of, which are undecipherable, yet can have no good meaning.