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Close proximity or a short distance, as to or away from some desired thing, person, goal, or objective. Used especially in the phrase "in/within spitting distance." A victory was within spitting distance for the home team, but a late penalty kick robbed them of their prize. My grandmother's house is rather old and a bit spooky, but it's in spitting distance of the ocean, so it was always a favorite summer destination when we were kids.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A very short distance, as in We were in spitting distance of winning the pennant but then we lost three games in a row . Alluding to the relatively short distance over which one's spit will carry, this idiom was first recorded in 1895 as within spitting range.
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.