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

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

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

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

close call

See also: call, close

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
References in classic literature ?
Close behind him were two more--fifty yards perhaps--but the distance gave me time to snatch up the dead guardsman's shield, for the close call his hatchet had just given me had borne in upon me the urgent need I had for one.
Now we are safe," I said, "but it was a close call -- so to speak.
You had a close call tonight, Rokoff; do not tempt fate a second time.
To close it and to have the pump started that would empty it were the work of but a minute; but we had had a close call.
Twas a close call for the old Tryapsic I'm tellun' ye.
Physician leaders can have real impact by instituting formal scrutiny of close calls, encouraging skepticism, flatter hierarchies and "devil's advocate" challenges, and eliminating fault-finding in favor of permanent, physical improvements, he said.
A look back at how we did with our Hotlist, several close calls on primary night could yield recounts and Ted Cruz reports a big February fundraising haul - all that and more in the latest issue of our subscriber-only newsletter for political insiders ($).
The value of close calls in improving patient safety.
JUBA, South Sudan -- Close calls with crocodiles, a brutal civil war and even the death of a fellow traveler have not deterred a British man from attempting to walk the length of the Nile River.
Rose said: "I have had a few close calls and sometimes you wonder why you can't get it done.
Colonel Anzjon became intrigued with the idea of trying to capture information about close calls that occur within the Reserve and learning from them.
Mundus was luckier but once said: "I had a lot of close calls.
In the first minute of the second half, Iveagh regained their advantage and despite a few close calls, they held on to win the game.
The software program costs about $18,000 per plane and was developed in response to Federal Aviation Administration concerns over runway accidents and close calls.