l Idioms

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
Track sports: The bar set for hurdles, high jumps, or pole vaulting is set high and higher for the runners or jumpers as the meets progress and the competition gets more difficult.
Sentence 1
The record for pole vaulting was set at Donetsk by Renaud Lavillenie. The bar was at 6.16 meters.
Meaning 2
The lowest bar set is the least restrictive and the least difficult.
Sentence 2
"The Corwyn (gun) bill would set a national bar at the lowest denominator."

Derivation

Track sports.

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
difficult to win; to win against great odds
Sentence 1
That horse is a long shot to win the Belmont race.
Meaning 2
very difficult to do
Sentence 2
That stock is a long shot to hit one hundred on the American stock exchange.

Derivation

In ancient England, archery contests were held to see who could make the longest shot with a bow and arrow. This expression is so old it has become imbedded in the language as an idiom associated not with a particular sport, but all sports,games, and activities associated with risk. For example, if "long shot" was used literally in a sport, it would be associated with shooting an .arrow, a bullet or something thrown in track and field. Thus it's a long shot for an archer to hit the bullseye at 90 meters.

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
The lead dog is the first or lead dog of a pack of dogs pulling sleds over snow. This idiom is used particularly in northern places, such as Alaska, but not necessarily.
Sentence 1
The most famous sled dog, with a statue honoring him in New York Central Park is Balto, who saved children's lives in 1933 by delivering medicine in Alaska.
Meaning 2
to manage, lead
Sentence 2
"Lead Dog's ability to manage this complex program is masterful." Will you be the lead dog on this project?

Derivation

There have been sleddogs pulling dogsleds for at least a thousand years.

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
Ropes are integral (central) to the sport of sailing
Sentence 1
If you want to be a sailor, you need to learn how the ropes work for the jib and main sail.
Meaning 2
to learn how to do anything
Sentence 2
You'll learn the ropes of this job soon enough.

Derivation

Hundreds of ropes were needed to work the sails of the great ships that sailed the oceans in years past. It took many months for a sailor to learn (to use) the ropes. After months at sea, he would have learned the ropes.

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to start sailing, start the motor, let out the sails
Sentence 1
We're out of the harbor. Let her rip.
Meaning 2
to start something
Sentence 2
Let's go. Let her rip.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
level or flat playing field is important so that the play is fair.
Sentence 1
We need a level playing field for soccer, so one team does not have to run uphill.
Meaning 2
to be fair, to be equal
Sentence 2
They had more troops. We bombed them, so we had a level playing field before we sent in our troops.

Derivation

The idiom above, used in the Gulf War of 1990 refers to equalizing the numbers of ground troops rather than a level area for men to fight. In this case, the idiom is so far removed from its literal meaning of a flat or level field it becomes rather confusing.

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to be in a division for persons who are light in weight and not as strong as those in the heavyweight division.
Sentence 1
Carlos Ortiz was a lightweight champion in the 1960's.
Meaning 2
to be of lesser importance
Sentence 2
He can't help you. He is a lightweight in this corporation.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
as a duck sits on water
Sentence 1
That target practice was easy, like hitting a sitting duck.
Meaning 2
to be unaware of something about to happen
Sentence 2
The ememy's troops were like sitting ducks. They did not suspect an attack.

Derivation

A sitting duck is easier to shoot than one that is flying. A stationary target is easier to hit than a moving one.

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to put the gun barrel down
Sentence 1
I lowered my sights as the clay pidgeon dropped.
Meaning 2
to take or accept less
Sentence 2
I have to lower my sights about my career. I am not going to get a Master's in Business Administration.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to put the boom of a sailboat down (See DERIVATION below for definition of "boom")
Sentence 1
Lower the boom as we come into the harbor. We won't need as much wind.
Meaning 2
to reprimand, scold or get angry at someone
Sentence 2
Joe was not performing at work. The boss lowered the boom on him. He told him to improve his work or he would be fired.

Derivation

The boom is a heavy piece of wood or metal attached to the mast of a ship to which the sail is attached. Sailors must be careful to watch the boom when it is lowered or they might be hit on the head.