close but no cigar, (it was)

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, 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
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