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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

close but no cigar

A phrase said when one is almost correct or successful but ultimately fails. Cigars were once commonly used as prizes or awards. You all had some very good guesses—close but no cigar.
See also: but, cigar, close, no

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
References in classic literature ?
I give it up now, for I cannot keep it; but I will not have rubbishy books; so, Archie, please send these two after your cigars.
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.
Less than ten blacks had been known to rush a blackbirder officered by no more than two white men, and Van Horn's hand closed on the butt of his automatic, although he did not pull it clear of the holster, and although, with his left hand, he directed the cigar to his mouth and puffed it lively alight.
And while "Red Wing" screeched its cheap and pretty rhythm, he reclined elbow on deck, smoked his cigar, and gathered Jerry into caressing inclosure.
And I was right, truly right," cried the general, with warmth and solemnity, "for if cigars are forbidden in railway carriages, poodles are much more so.
Having lighted their cigars, they leaned out of this window, smoking, and looking down at the moonlight, as it shone into the court below.
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.
But," said Flambeau, as the priest put his cigar in his mouth again and leaned back, staring at the roof, "suppose somebody else did use the scissors.
Father Brown was still leaning back and staring at the roof, but he took his cigar out of his mouth and said: "Quinton never did commit suicide.
said the priest, and flung his cigar far into the darkness like a shooting star.
The truth is, cigar smoke is inhaled and is just as harmful to the lungs," Richie said.
2 cigar by Cigar Aficionado behind the famous Cuban Montecristo No.
Altadis' Phillies cigar brand maintained its leading position in cigars excluding cigarillos in Georgia in 2013.
The cigar shop, originally situated where Starbucks is now, spent several years in the alleyway on Ladd Street near the entrance to a parking garage.