under the wire

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Prepositional phrase[edit]

under the wire

  1. (horse racing) Across the finish line.
    • 1921, B. M. Bower, Cow-Country, ch. 15:
      Lying forward flattened along Sunfish's hard-muscled shoulders, Bud was gaining and gaining—one length, then two lengths as he shot under the wire, slowed and rode back to find a silent crowd watching him.
  2. (idiomatic) At the last minute; before the deadline; barely on time; nearly late.
    • 1935, "Zags Jammed," Time, 15 July:
      Russians had heard rumors, and foreign correspondents had obtained confirmation, that the Dictator will soon drastically tighten up proverbially loose Bolshevik divorce laws. In a panic to get in under the wire, every Moscow mate who has recently thought of divorce was last week jamming the official bureaus.