North American informal (Of an attempt) almost but not quite successful: they didn’t catch him in the car—close but no cigar
[referring to a cigar received in congratulation]
More example sentences
- Despite demographic changes, all signs are that it will be another case of close but no cigar.
- These fall into the ‘close but no cigar’ category.
- It's a worthy effort: close but no cigar.
Definition of close but no cigar in:
- The US English dictionary