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a near thing
1. An unpleasant, dangerous, or disastrous event or outcome that one narrowly avoids. No one was hurt in the accident, but it was a near thing—if the fuel tank had been hit, we all would have died. It was a near thing, but thankfully the surgeons managed to remove the cancerous tissue before it spread to other parts of my body. The last-minute deal will avert a government shutdown, but it will have been a near thing.
2. A very narrow outcome or margin of success or failure. After finding out I got the job, I learned from a friend within the company that it was a near thing due to the yearlong gap in my résumé. It is expected to be a near thing in the final moments of the presidential election.
Something just barely effected, as in That election was a near thing-he won by a handful of votes. [Mid-1700s]
a close/near ˈthing,
a close-run ˈthing(informal)
1 a competition, an election, a race, etc. which you only just succeed in winning: I know we won, but believe me, it was a near thing. They could easily have beaten us.
2 a punishment, an accident, etc. which you only just avoided: The police searched the house but they didn’t find him. It was a close-run thing.