a cat's whisker away


      • very close
        To indicate that something is only a very small distance away or very close to happening

    Examples of a cat's whisker away

    • The team's morale was a cat's whisker away from breaking the opposition's spirit, but a costly own goal by their striker gifted the lead to the opponents.

      The team was very close to winning and demoralizing their opponents, but the mistake by their own player resulted in the opposite outcome. The phrase "a cat's whisker away" here implies that the outcome was almost certain, and with the slightest mistake, it changed drastically.

    • The new product was just a cat's whisker away from being a massive hit. But the company neglected to test it in a mock market and launched it anyway.

      The company had almost succeeded in making a very successful product, but a lack of proper planning and testing led them down the path of failure. The usage of "a cat's whisker away" suggests that the company was so close to the desired outcome that a minor neglection could be the key factor in hindering the success.

    • As the sun sets every day, the world is a cat's whisker away from plunging into total darkness.

      At the end of the day, the world experiences a moment where it is almost completely dark, and a small light can make a significant impact. The phrase "a cat's whisker away" is used here to highlight how close we are to darkness, and how important it is to have even a small source of light.

    • The country's economy was a cat's whisker away from collapse, but with quick and decisive actions by the leadership, they were able to stabilize it.

      The country's economic situation was in a state where a small mistake could have led to a collapse. The usage of "a cat's whisker away" here suggests that the leaders had to be very cautious and agile in their decisions to avoid ruining the economy completely. The context here also implies that timely actions had a significant impact on the economic situation.

    • The student scored 99% on the exam. With just one more point, she would have aced it. She was a cat's whisker away from perfection.

      The idiom 'a cat's whisker away' means being very close to achieving something, as near as possible, but not quite there. In this example, the student almost scored a perfect 100%, but fell short by just one point. This idiom gives the sense that the student was incredibly close to achieving her goal but was held back by a minor detail.

    • The team lost by a single point in the final minutes of the game. If they had made that last shot, they would have won. They were a cat's whisker away from the championship.

      Similar to the previous example, 'a cat's whisker away' is used to convey how close someone or a team is to achieving their goal or dream, yet falls short due to a small difference. In this scenario, the team came up short in their quest for the championship, but they were incredibly close to achieving it.

    • The small business owner worked tirelessly to secure a big client. She sent countless emails and made multiple phone calls, but the client chose her competitor instead. She was a cat's whisker away from securing the deal.

      This example shows that 'a cat's whisker away' can also be used to describe a situation where someone comes very close to achieving their goal or target, but for some reason, it doesn't work out. In this case, the small business owner was almost successful in securing the big client, but her competition managed to outperform her at the last moment.

    • The artist barely missed the deadline for the art exhibition. If she had submitted her work on time, she would have been in it. She was a cat's whisker away from being a part of the exhibition.

      This example demonstrates how the idiom 'a cat's whisker away' can apply to situations that involve timelines. In this case, the artist submitted her artwork very close to the deadline, yet she was unable to make it to the exhibition. The idiom helps convey the idea that she was very close to being accepted into the exhibition, but fell short due to the time constraint.


    The idiom "a cat's whisker away" is used to convey extreme closeness or nearness. It suggests that something is just a tiny distance away or about to happen imminently. This phrase is often used to emphasize how close a person or thing is to a particular outcome or achievement. It can also be used to describe a situation where success or failure hangs in the balance, with only a small margin separating the two. Overall, "a cat's whisker away" is a vivid and expressive way to highlight proximity and imminent possibility.

    Origin of "a cat's whisker away"

    The origin of the idiom "a cat's whisker away" is believed to stem from the idea of a cat's whiskers being extremely fine and delicate. Whiskers are essential sensory organs for cats, helping them navigate their surroundings with precision. By using the image of a cat's whisker to describe closeness, the idiom emphasizes the delicate balance between something happening or not happening. The phrase paints a vivid picture of how close something is to occurring, with just a whisker's breadth separating the present from the future.

    The idiom may have originated from the observation of cats' behavior, where they often position themselves right at the edge of a situation, ready to pounce or react at a moment's notice. This agility and readiness to act at the slightest provocation could have inspired the expression "a cat's whisker away" to describe a state of extreme nearness or readiness. Overall, the idiom encapsulates the idea of being on the brink of something, with only the slightest distance or effort needed to reach a desired outcome.