Where did the term "CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR" come from? What exactly does it mean?

Question:Where did this phrase originate from? When is the proper time to use it?

The winner of a race or whatever would get a cigar. So the runner up would be close...but wouldn't get a cigar.

There was a horse named Cigar not long ago that was in the Triple Crown races.

That way the other horses would be close, but no Cigar.

That's my favorite horse name.
Old days at County fairs and such prizes were cigars..like those things where you swing a hammer and a weight goes up to ring a bell...it would get close but if it didn't ring the dude would say "close but no cigar"
I think is comes from the day when you could win a cigar at the fair for trying one of their games - if you missed but were close, it was "close, but no cigar"
The phrase probably originates from contests at fairs or carnivals where the prize was a cigar
Uhh Cuban Cigar makers?
Its apporiate to use it when you have someone guessing like an answer like
"Close but no cigar.."
It means you just missed winning the contest. Probably from fairs and such where a cigar was the prize.
This is from the old county fair days..... You used to play games and win a cigar. So when the person would try and win, they would say "close but no cigar" That means they were close but they dont win the cigar. .....
You use this term when your playing a game or something, the person gets close to winning ( or maybe its an answer ) but they dont get it, you can say "close but no cigar".
the term came to use in the 1800s during the local fairs and carnivals...you would take a shot at the target and if you hit the bulls eye than you got a cigar and if you missed you heard close but no cigar...............
At county fairs and amusement parks in the past, there used to be places where you could pay (it wasn't much in those days, maybe a penny or two) for a try at slamming down a big mallet to see if you could make a disk shoot up high enough on a scale to ring the bell at the top. Your prize for ringing the bell or gong would be a cigar!

So, "close, but no cigar!" was heard by an awful lot of people, because of course it was rigged to make it pretty hard to get that weight all the way up to the top!
It was before my time and I am 52. The meaning or my interpretaion is that yoou almost make it but not quite. Finish a close second but not first....Close but no cigar. I think at least explaining it this way kind of means a reward of some type and if you don't win you are close but don't get the prize.
I think Groucho Marx on the Show of Shows used to use it. It means you almost got it right, but not quite.
It means you nearly managed it but got no result.

When men became fathers the old tradition was for them to immediately hand out cigars to celebrate the event and to be congratulated. (as if they actually did anything!!)

Close but no cigar means that although you came close to getting a satisfactory result - it was not quite what was required.

So you will not be getting the chance to hand round cigars in order to be congratulated.

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