Sport Idioms (Page 2)

Showing 51-96 of 96 results
Keep your eye on the ball
If you keep your eye on the ball, you stay alert and pay close attention to what is happening.
Kicked to touch
Touch is a zone of the playing field in Rugby. Kicked to touch means the ball was put safely out of play. Idiomatic usage usually means a person has deftly avoided an issue in argument.
Level playing field
If there's a level playing field everybody is treated equally.
Major league
Something major league is very important.
Monday morning quarterback
(USA) A Monday morning quarterback is someone who, with the benefit of hindsight, knows what should have been done in a situation.
Move the chains
(USA) Derived from the act of moving the chains in an American football game when a team gets a first down, this expression describes taking a project to the next step, especially one that has lost its momentum for one reason or another. Example: Frustrated with our lack of progress, our boss finally shouted, "Make a decision today about which one to use, and let's move the chains on this."
Move the goalposts
When people move the goalposts, they change the standards required for something to their advantage.
No harm, no foul
There's no problem when no harm or damage is done, such as the time my sister-in-law stole the name we'd chosen for a boy and we both ended up having girls.
No holds barred
If there are no holds barred, there are no rules of conduct; you can do anything.
Not cricket
(UK) If something is not cricket, it is unfair.
Off the mark
If something is off the mark, it is inaccurate or incorrect.
On the ball
If someone's on the ball, they are well-informed and know what's going on in their area of responsibility or interest.
On the mound
(USA) If you're on the mound, you're on the mound back at your game, back in control.
On the nod
(UK) When a horse runs, its head moves backwards and forwards alternately - in horse racing, if 2 horses cross the line together the one whose head happens to be going forward often wins and is said to win 'on the nod'.
On the ropes
When something or someone is on the ropes, it or they are doing badly and likely to fail.
Out of the gate running
If someone comes out of the gate running, they start something at a fast pace, without any build-up.
Out of the left field
(USA) If something comes out of the left field, it is beside the point and has nothing to do with the matter being discussed.
Par for the course
If something is par for the course, it is what you expected it would be. If it is above par, it is better, and if it is below par, it is worse.
Photo finish
A photo finish is when two contestants (usually in a race) finish at almost exactly the same time, making it difficult to determine the winner. (The saying stems from the practice of taking a photograph when the winners cross the finish line to determine who was ahead at the time.)
Pick-up game
(USA) A pick-up game is something unplanned where people respond to events as they happen.
Play ball
If you play ball, you agree to do what someone asks you to do, or to agree to work with someone in order to achieve something together (often negative)
Play hardball
If someone plays hardball, they are very aggressive in trying to achieve their aim.
Pole position
If you're in pole position, you're in the best position to win or achieve something.
Pull no punches
If you pull no punches, you hold nothing back.
Pull your punches
If you pull your punches, you do not use all the power or authority at your disposal.
Punching bag
A punching bag (or punch bag) is a person who gets a lot of unfair criticism.
Put off your stride
If you put someone off their stride, you distract them and make it hard for them to do or complete a task.
Put your oar in
If you join a discussion or offer your opinion when not invited or expected to do so, you put your oar in.
Quick off the mark
If someone is quick off the mark, they are very quick to use, start or do something new.
Right out of the blocks
This means immediately; at the very beginning.  It describes a sprinter blasting out of the starting blocks at the beginning of a short distance race (e.g., 100-yard dash, 50-yard dash).
Ringside seat
If you have a ringside seat, you can observe something from a very close and clear position.
Roll with the punches
If you roll with the punches, you are flexible and able to adapt to difficult circumstances.
Saved by the bell
If you are saved by the bell, you are rescued from a danger or a tricky situation just in time.
Stay the course
If you stay the course, you continue to do something no matter how difficult it is.
Sticky wicket
(UK) If you are on a sticky wicket, you are in a difficult situation.
Still in the game
If someone is still in the game, they may be having troubles competing, but they are not yet finished and may come back.
Succeed in the clutch
If you succeed in the clutch, you  perform at a crucial time; it is particularly used in sports for the decisive moments of the game.  The opposite is 'fail in the clutch.'
Tackle an issue
If you tackle an issue or problem, you resolve or deal with it.
Take a punch
If somebody takes a blow, something bad happens to them.
Take your eye off the ball
If someone takes their eye off the ball, they don't concentrate on something important that they should be looking at.
Tale of the tape
This idiom is used when comparing things, especially in sports; it comes from boxing where the fighters would be measured with a tape measure before a fight.
The ball's in your court
If somebody says this to you, they mean that it's up to you to decide or take the next step.
Throw a curve
(USA) If you throw someone a curve, you surprise them with something they find difficult to deal with. ('Throw' a curveball' is also used.) 
Throw in the towel
If you throw in the towel, you admit that you are defeated or cannot do something.
Whole new ball game
If something's a whole new ball game, it is completely new or different.
Wide of the mark
If something is wide of the mark, it is inaccurate or incorrect.

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