General Sports Idioms

Those Common to Most Sports & Games

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
before the game or event
Sentence 1
I'll meet you five minutes ahead of the game at section "M" at the football stadium.
Meaning 2
to have worked or done more than necessary, to have an advantage
Sentence 2
I have to work extra hours to stay ahead of the game on this negotiation.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
The game or sports event is finished or "over" and only the cheering is left
Sentence 1
The World Series is all over but the shouting.
Meaning 2
decided, concluded
Sentence 2
The Gulf War is all over but the shouting.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to hit a player on his "blind-side"or the side away from which a player is looking
Sentence 1
The quarterback was blind-sided by the defensive end.
Meaning 2
to not see what is going to happen
Sentence 2
I was blind-sided. I didn't know he was going to come up with those kind of figures for the buy-out.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to hit a surface and rebound
Sentence 1
The ball bounced over the wall.
Meaning 2
to jump around
Sentence 2
High technology stocks seem to bounce around a lot on the stock market. That stock took a big bounce yesterday.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
To play defensively: a team or person tries to keep the opposing team from scoring.
Sentence 1
The team was better at defensive play than offensive play.
Meaning 2
to be defensive on a business project, a political project, in one's personal life.
Sentence 2
We better play. defensively. Think of possible questions and have the answers ready.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
not within the rules of the game; an infraction of the rules
Sentence 1
The referee blew his whistle. There was a foul play.
Meaning 2
an illegal activity, a bad practice or unfair
Sentence 2
Stealing my girlfriend was foul play.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
any game in which two players oppose each other There are many more idioms using the term "game" as a noun, for example: It's a whole different game; It's a whole different ball game; It's a new game; That's an old game. There are also more idioms using "game" as an adjective as in game plan (above) and He's game. (He will play the game). The student or reader can think of ways to use this idiom in sentences or his or her own, at work, at play or at home. Other terms commonly used which derive from many sports and games, rather than a specific one, are those associated with play, player, and teams.
Sentence 1
Tennis is a game at which two can play.
Meaning 2
similar strategies that two people play, often in opposition to win or cause psychic harm
Sentence 2
"Oh, so you've had and affair! Two can play that game.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
a plan to win the game
Sentence 1
What's the game plan for the play-off?
Meaning 2
a plan to win in anything in life, if not life itself
Sentence 2
What's the game plan to win this advertising contract?
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to begin to understand something, to be actively involved
Sentence 1
You'll get into the swing of things soon. You've only been here a month.
Meaning 2
to be actively involved
Sentence 2
The president of the corporation told his financial officer that he was doing well; he was getting into the swing of things.

Derivation

This idiom refers primarily to the word "swing" as an action and not to a specific sports term.