close, but no cigar

variants: or close but no cigar

Definition of close, but no cigar

used to say that a guess was almost correct or that an effort was almost sufficient Quick: What country jails the most journalists? If you guessed China, you were close, but no cigar.— Dexter FilkinsIt was close but no cigar for Cincinnati as they fell 13-16 to"… on Friday, it was close but no cigar for the Dow hitting 18,000. In fact, it got within 10 points of hitting that psychological milestone. …"— Alison KosikThen last year I reviewed a new, much smaller … headphone, … and while it was awfully good, it wasn't in the league of those aforementioned very best full-size headphones. Close, but no cigar.— Steve Guttenberg

Learn More About close, but no cigar

Dictionary Entries Near close, but no cigar

close breeding

close, but no cigar

close by

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for close, but no cigar

Cite this Entry

“Close, but no cigar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!