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near miss

noun
1.
a strike by a missile that is not a direct hit but is close enough to damage the target.
2.
an instance of two vehicles, aircraft, etc., narrowly avoiding a collision.
3.
something that falls narrowly short of its object or of success:
an interesting movie, but a near miss.
Also, near-miss.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for near-misses

near miss

noun
1.
a bomb, shell, etc, that does not exactly hit the target
2.
any attempt or shot that just fails to be successful
3.
an incident in which two vehicles narrowly avoid collision
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with near-misses
A narrowly avoided mishap; also, an attempt that falls just short of success. For example, It was a near miss for that truck, since the driver had crossed the center strip into on-coming traffic, or Her horse kept having a near miss in every race, so she decided to sell it. This expression originated during World War II, when it signified a bomb exploding in the water near enough to a ship to damage its hull. Soon afterward it acquired its present meanings.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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