dead heat

noun
1.
a race in which two or more competitors finish in a tie.
2.
the result of such a race; tie.

Origin:
1790–1800

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dead heat
 
n
a.  a race or contest in which two or more participants tie for first place
 b.  a tie between two or more contestants in any position

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

dead heat

A contest in which the competitors are equally matched and neither can win; a tie. For example, The two companies are in a dead heat to get a new personal computer on the market. This term comes from 18th-century British horse racing and is still part of racing terminology. It later was transferred to other kinds of competition.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
It's less than two weeks before the presidential election and the polls show a dead heat.
When a race results in a dead heat, the heat shall not be run off.
Synonyms
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