Why Do We Say, ‘Close, But No Cigar’?

Story Courtesy of Nathan Chandler / Photo courtesy of How Stuff Works

Cigars don’t just emit acrid smoke that seem to latch onto your clothes — they’ve also spawned some similarly sticky idioms in the English language. For example, there’s, “What we need is a good five-cent cigar,” as in a reference to a sensibly affordable item, as opposed to something overpriced.

But cigar sayings can be much weirder. For example, “Close, but no cigar.”

You didn’t ask for a cigar. Maybe you don’t even like them. So why is someone abruptly denying you one?

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