close call

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close call

1. A narrow escape from or avoidance of a situation, often an unfavorable or dangerous one. It was a close call, but I managed to avoid hitting the deer that ran directly in front of my car.
2. A decision or judgment that is difficult to make due to each possibility being nearly equal in one's consideration. I'm sorry, it really was a close call, but we've decided to go with another candidate for this position.
3. A contest or competition whose winner is not clear due to very close competition or results that are difficult to distinguish. With the two candidates having nearly equal amounts of delegates, this election is going to be a very close call.
See also: call, close
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

close call

Also, close shave. Narrow escape, near miss. For example, That skier just missed the tree-what a close call, or That was a close shave, nearly leaving your passport behind. The first phrase dates from the late 1800s and comes from sports, alluding to an official's decision ( call) that could have gone either way. The second, from the early 1800s, alludes to the narrow margin between closely shaved skin and a razor cut. (This latter usage replaced the much earlier equation of a close shave with miserliness, based on the idea that a close shave by a barber meant one would not have to spend money on another shave quite so soon.) Also see too close for comfort.
See also: call, close
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.

a close call


a close thing

COMMON If you describe an event as a close call or a close thing, you mean that someone very nearly had an accident or disaster, or very nearly suffered a defeat. `That was a close call,' said Bess, as the boat steadied. It was a close thing and, looking back now, I have no doubt that if my friend hadn't acted so promptly, I'd be dead.
See also: call, close
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a ˌclose ˈshave/ˈcall

(informal) a situation where a disaster, an accident, etc. almost happens: We didn’t actually hit the other car, but it was a close shave.Phew! That was a close call — she nearly saw us!
See also: call, close, shave
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

close call

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

close call/shave, a

A narrow escape, a near miss. Both phrases are originally American. The first dates from the 1880s and is thought to come from sports, where a close call was a decision by an umpire or referee that could have gone either way. A close shave is from the early nineteenth century and reflects the narrow margin between smoothly shaved skin and a nasty cut from the razor. Both were transferred to mean any narrow escape from danger. Incidentally, a close shave was in much earlier days equated with miserliness. Erasmus’s 1523 collection of adages has it, “He shaves right to the quick,” meaning he makes the barber give him a very close shave so that he will not need another for some time. Two synonymous modern clichés are too close for comfort and too close to home.
See also: call, close
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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Among the very few seats with a close call, NA-259 (Dera Bugti-cum-Kohlu-cum-Bharkhan-cum-Sibi-cum-Lehri) was won by Jamhoori Watan Party's Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti with a margin of 1,574 votes while 11,508 votes were rejected in the constituency.
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The modern Republican Party has shown itself to be, once again, the master of the close call. Reversing a double-digit deficit in the generic congressional polls three weeks before the election, facing near certain loss of both the House and Senate, the party strategically abandoned its most vulnerable candidates in order to target a massive wave of negative ads on just enough districts and states to retain a miniscule majority in both houses.
Singapore's close call with SARS in 2003, its famously hot and humid climate, and its proximity to politically delicate situations, require new initiatives previously unseen in healthcare design.
That close call would not have come to pass in the first place if the U.S.
Their search for a "mice" home (with a well-stocked refrigerator) will lead them into one exciting adventure and harrowing close call after another, in this upbeat and delightful narrative.
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He abruptly stopped having sex after what he felt was a close call. However, a few months later he calmed down: "I finally [realized that] I'm free, and I'm not going to deny myself as long as I'm trying to be smart about it."