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

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characterized by aphorism

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