photo finish


: a race or finish in which contestants are so close that a photograph of them as they cross the finish line has to be examined to determine the winner
: a close contest

Examples of photo finish in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Plus, the heartwarming story of a photo finish for a mother’s marathon run. CNN, 24 Sep. 2023 Beyond photo finishes, there’s another reason that this random weekend in the dog days of summer is being closely scrutinized. Brent Lang, Variety, 27 Aug. 2023 Joey Mantia, the 36-year-old American who had been expected to contend for the gold, missed the bronze in a photo finish, but said afterward that a foul by Lee had cost him a shot at the podium. New York Times, 18 Feb. 2022 Mohawk Warrior edged out Grave Digger, Monster Jam’s most famous truck, in a photo finish. Zach Helfand, The New Yorker, 14 Aug. 2023 The one-of-a-kind track quickly gained a reputation for photo finishes and fun races. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, 21 June 2023 As luck would have it, a mid-summer charge by another contender nearly called for a photo finish. Dallas News, 28 Dec. 2022 Shane King won the race in 10.96 seconds in a photo finish over teammate Trevin McHargh. Anthony Maluso, Baltimore Sun, 28 May 2023 Over in the 100 meters, the American men swept the podium for the first time since 1991, with Fred Kerley taking gold, followed by Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell, who needed a photo finish to figure out silver and bronze. Globe Staff,, 25 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'photo finish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1935, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of photo finish was in 1935

Dictionary Entries Near photo finish

Cite this Entry

“Photo finish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

photo finish

: a finish of a race in which contestants are so close that a photograph of them crossing the finish line has to be examined to decide the winner
: a close contest (as in an election)

More from Merriam-Webster on photo finish

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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