dead heat


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

Nearby words

  1. dead firing,
  2. dead freight,
  3. dead from the neck up,
  4. dead hand,
  5. dead heart,
  6. dead horse,
  7. dead in one's tracks,
  8. dead in the water,
  9. dead key,
  10. dead languages

Origin of dead heat

First recorded in 1790–1800 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dead heat

  • Their ascent of the stairs was like a race—a race ending in a dead-heat.

    The Azure Rose|Reginald Wright Kauffman

British Dictionary definitions for dead heat

dead heat


  1. a race or contest in which two or more participants tie for first place
  2. a tie between two or more contestants in any position
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

Idioms and Phrases with dead heat

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® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.