dead heat, in a

dead heat

A race or competition in which the opponents are very evenly matched. Their race times have been so close lately that I bet they'll be in a dead heat the whole time.
See also: dead, heat

in a dead heat

In a tie, as of evenly matched opponents in a competition. Their race times have been so close lately that I bet they'll be in a dead heat the whole time. Maddie and Megan finished the race in a dead heat, so we'll have to declare two winners.
See also: dead, heat

in a dead heat

Fig. [finishing a race] at exactly the same time; tied. The two horses finished the race in a dead heat. They ended the contest in a dead heat.
See also: dead, heat

dead heat

A contest in which the competitors are equally matched and neither can win; a tie. For example, The two companies are in a dead heat to get a new personal computer on the market. This term comes from 18th-century British horse racing and is still part of racing terminology. It later was transferred to other kinds of competition.
See also: dead, heat

dead heat, in a

Tied for first place. The term comes from horse-racing, in which “heat” used to mean simply a race (today its meaning is a bit more specific). It was in use by the late eighteenth century (“The whole race was run head and head, terminating in a dead heat,” Sporting Magazine, 1796). It later was applied to any contest in which there was a tie.
See also: dead