Definition of close but no cigar in English:

close but no cigar


North American
  • (of an attempt) almost but not quite successful.

    ‘they didn't catch him in the car—close but no cigar’
    • ‘These fall into the ‘close but no cigar’ category.’
    • ‘It's a worthy effort: close but no cigar.’
    • ‘Despite demographic changes, all signs are that it will be another case of close but no cigar.’
    • ‘‘Close, but no cigar’ is a cliché, but it helps comfort those of us who don't always emerge victorious.’