What Does “Down to the Wire” Mean?

Discover the meaning of 'Down to the Wire' and how it is used to describe last-minute situations with uncertain outcomes. Explore synonyms like 'nail-biting' and 'last-minute.'

Are “Down to the Wire” and “Saved by the Bell” Similar Idioms?

Yes, “Down to the wire” and “Saved by the bell” are similar idioms in that they both convey a sense of narrowly avoiding a negative outcome.

However, the meaning of “saved by the bell” specifically refers to being rescued at the last moment, while “down to the wire” generally implies a close or critical situation.

Meaning and Usage of ‘Down to the Wire’

When something is “down to the wire,” it means that it is reaching the very end of a process or situation, and the outcome is still uncertain.

This idiom is often used to describe a situation where something is happening at the last minute or is very close to its deadline.

It is a figurative use of the term, and its literal meaning is not related to its idiomatic meaning.

In everyday conversation, this idiom might be used to describe a situation where someone is waiting until the last minute to complete a task or make a decision.

For example, “I’m down to the wire on this project, and I’m not sure if I’ll finish it on time.” or “The game was down to the wire, and it was anyone’s guess who would win.”

Synonyms for “down to the wire” include “nail-biting,” “edge of one’s seat,” and “last-minute.”

Here are three brief definitions of the idiom:

  1. Reaching the very end of a process or situation
  2. Happening at the last minute
  3. Uncertain outcome

Here are three example sentences that use the idiom:

  1. “The election was down to the wire, with both candidates neck and neck in the polls.”
  2. “The game was down to the wire, and it was anyone’s guess who would win.”
  3. “The project was down to the wire, but they managed to finish it just in time.”

Here are three synonyms of the idiom:

  1. Nail-biting
  2. Edge of one’s seat
  3. Last-minute.