[Ads-l] antedating "close but no cigar"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 25 16:58:32 UTC 2015

Good work, Peter. The "Close, but no cigar" expression was discussed
on the ADS list in January 2013. As Stephen noted, the interesting
citation you found was mentioned. Bill Mullins, Stephen, and I posted

Researcher Barry Popik has an entry on the topic at his website, and
he included the information:

"Close, but no cigar"



On Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 12:44 PM, Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: antedating "close but no cigar"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Peter, this text has been noted before. And Garson found an earlier use:
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2013-January/124789.html
> ADS-L archive search:
> https://cse.google.com/cse/publicurl?cx=3D015166654881017481565:tinnmx85pdy
> Stephen
> ________________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society ... on behalf of Peter Morris ...
> Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2015 4:40 AM
> To: ...
> Subject: [ADS-L] antedating "close but no cigar"
> Fred Shapiro wrote:
> "Close, but no cigar" is widely used to signal a near miss. The earliest in=
> stance of its use anyone has found is in the 1935 film Annie Oakley, which =
> has the line "Close, Colonel, but no cigar!" Why a cigar? The reference app=
> ears to  be to a carnival game of strength (the "Highball" or "Hi-Striker")=
>  in which the contestant hits a lever with a sledgehammer to try to drive a=
>  weight high enough up a column to ring a bell at the top. The standard rew=
> ard for ringing the bell is a cigar.
> http://freakonomics.com/2009/06/18/quotes-uncovered-who-said-no-cigar/
> I have found an earlier cite in the Princeton Alumni Weekly, July 2 1929 de=
> scribing the first reunion of the class of  '28.
> http://tinyurl.com/nw3awmn
> "The long distance trophy, an appropriately inscribed silver cigarette case=
> , was awarded to Em Gooch who had made the trip from Lincoln, Neb. for the =
> occasion. Several other members came close, but no cigar, and we trust that=
>  all those in New York and Philadelphia who failed to show up, without reas=
> on, will read these lines with a quiver."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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