whisker

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cat's whiskers

Something or someone that is highly enjoyable, desirable, or impressive, especially in a fancy or elaborate way. Tom's new Cadillac is really the cat's whiskers! Boy, that singer last night was the cat's whiskers, wasn't she?
See also: whisker

be the cat's whiskers

To be highly enjoyable, desirable, or impressive, especially in a fancy or elaborate way. Tom's new Cadillac is really the cat's whiskers! Boy, that singer last night was the cat's whiskers, wasn't she?
See also: whisker

by a hair

By an extremely short or slim margin (of distance, time, or another measure). They're just about to close the gates! It looks like we made the flight by a hair. The race was neck and neck till the very end, but Sally won it by a hair.
See also: hair

by a whisker

By an extremely short or slim margin (of distance, time, or another measure). They're just about to close the gates! It looks like we made the flight by a whisker. The race was neck and neck till the very end, but Sally won it by a whisker.
See also: whisker

come within a whisker of (something)

To almost get, achieve, or experience something. She came within a whisker of the gold medal, but her leg cramped in the last few meters. Hundreds of people came within a whisker of death when their apartment building caught on fire in the middle of the night.
See also: come, of, whisker, within

within a whisker of (something)

Very close to something. I swear the car came within a whisker of hitting the train, but stopped at the last second. I came within a whisker of winning that race, but I guess I'll have to settle for second place.
See also: of, whisker, within

by a hair('s breadth)

 and by a whisker
Fig. just barely; by a very small distance. I just missed getting on the plane by a hair's breadth. I made it onto the last flight by a hair!
See also: hair

win by a nose

Fig. to win by the slightest amount of difference. (Can be literal in horses races.) I ran the fastest race I could, but I only won by a nose. Sally won the race, but she only won by a nose.
See also: nose, win

by a hair

Also, by a hairbreadth or whisker . Very narrowly. For example, His serve was out by a hair, or We made our flight by a hairbreadth, or Dad missed hitting the pole by a whisker. The first two hyperboles for the very narrowest margin date from the 1300s and 1400s respectively; whisker meaning "a small amount" was first recorded in 1913. Also see by the skin of one's teeth; hang by a hair.
See also: hair

win by a nose

Also, win by a whisker. Just barely succeed, as in Sally's political cartoon came in first in the contest, but I heard that she won by a nose . This term comes from horseracing, where from about 1900 on it referred to a finish so close that only a portion of the horse's nose reached the finish ahead of the second horse. A whisker-that is, a hair-is a narrower margin yet. [Second half of 1900s]
See also: nose, win

the cat's whiskers

or

the cat's pyjamas

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If you describe someone or something as the cat's whiskers or the cat's pyjamas, you mean they are the best person or thing of their kind. She had this great dress on with huge skirts, and she thought she was the cat's whiskers as she walked into the room. We critics variously declared the show brilliant, the cat's pyjamas, breathtaking, and unmissable. Note: These expressions were originally American and became popular in Britain during the 1920s. `Cat's whisker' was also the name of a fine wire in a crystal wireless receiver.
See also: whisker

by a whisker

If you succeed or fail to do something by a whisker, you succeed or fail, but only just. The French government only scraped a Yes vote by a whisker. At the end we lost by a whisker and we were so disappointed.
See also: whisker

come within a whisker of something

COMMON If you come within a whisker of doing something, you almost do it. He came within a whisker of scoring the most spectacular goal. Meanwhile, Guccione came within a whisker of losing his mansion. Note: You can also say that someone is within a whisker of doing something. The two firms are within a whisker of agreeing a deal. Yet Miller had been within a whisker of being sacked.

within a whisker of something

If something is within a whisker of a particular amount, it is almost that amount. The price of gold is now within a whisker of $330 an ounce.
See also: of, something, whisker, within

the cat's whiskers

an excellent person or thing. informal
Other similar phrases include the cat's pyjamas and the chiefly North American the cat's miaou .
See also: whisker

have (or have grown) whisker

s (especially of a story) be very old. informal
See also: have, whisker

within a whisker of

extremely close or near to doing, achieving, or suffering something. informal
See also: of, whisker, within

the cat’s ˈwhiskers/pyˈjamas

(informal, often ironic) the best person, idea, thing, etc: She thinks she’s the cat’s whiskers.
See also: pyjama, whisker

be, come, etc. within a whisker of something/of doing something

(British English) almost do something: They came within a whisker of being killed.
See also: of, something, whisker, within

do something by a ˈwhisker

(informal) do something, but nearly fail; do something, but only just: He missed the first prize by a whisker.You escaped serious injury by a whisker, so consider yourselves very lucky.
See also: something, whisker

Mr. Whiskers

and Uncle Whiskers and whiskers (man)
n. a federal agent. (Underworld. From the whiskers of Uncle Sam.) Mr. Whiskers is trying to get me to pay tax on those few bucks. If Uncle Whiskers finds out what you’re doing, you’re done for.
See also: Whisker

Uncle Whiskers

verb
See also: uncle, Whisker

whiskers man

verb
See also: man, whisker

whiskers

verb
See also: whisker
References in periodicals archive ?
Get whiskered away: Flights to Miami start at around PS434 return then it's around a 150-mile drive.
A series of blue etchings depicted female archetypes, among them a middle-age angel entitled Melancholia, an anxious Dorothy with dog Toto, a whiskered Wolf Girl in a lacy cap, and a bereft Virgin Mary (all 1999).
There are fewer than 2,000 manatees, the large sea mammals that resemble whiskered baked potatoes, in U.
Their distinguishing features--sand dunes whiskered with native grasses, fairways with hidden bunkers and hollows, and strong prevailing winds--are nature's work.
Florida's giant manatees are curiously gentle sea creatures -- whiskered, slow moving, and blubbery, with spatula-shaped tails, fingernailtipped flippers, and thick gray skin.
The dancing is superb and deliciously feline: Every whiskered facial twitch is fascinating.
Differentiate between crested and whiskered auklets, murres and murrelets, Laysan and black-footed albatrosses, horned and tufted puffins, many others.
Probably the most basic and maybe, the wisest approach is to follow the whiskered guideline of expecting the unexpected.
washes and whiskered detailing gaining in popularity.
Wahl, whose facial hair trimmers have helped shape and trim up many of baseball's whiskered winners over the years, engaged the sports statistical leader after watching Boston get stronger and stronger as their facial hair got longer and longer and eventually winning it all last October.
There were games of cricket played by two whiskered gents that threatened the windows of the theatre.
Up to 10 out of 18 UK species of bat - including longeared, Daubenton's, pipistrelle, whiskered and Brandt's species - have been recorded roosting or foraging around land cared for by the National Trust along Hadrian's Wall.
And then at the TV gong show last week, Ben Whishaw - who won best actor while Sheridan Smith was named best actress - was newly whiskered.
and the children you raked with the whiskered broom until they stopped
The Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) is a cosmopolitan species characterized by fluctuating numbers and scattered distribution (Cramp and Simmons 1997).