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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.
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.
a close callor
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.
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 close shave