Whether or not you’ve been following the Commonwealth Games, or are a fan of sports in general, there’s one facet of sporting culture that’s hard to avoid: sport idioms.
Although they originate from the world of sport, these phrases and sayings infiltrate our everyday language.
I enjoyed researching weather idioms for one of my earlier blogs, so thought I’d continue the series by rounding up a selection of sport idioms – which I’ve grouped by the discipline they’re associated with.
Toe the line = To recognise authority and abide by the rules
Jump the gun = To start something ahead of time
Get off to a flying start = To have a very successful beginning
Have the inside track = To have an advantage
Run a mile = To go out of your way to avoid someone or something
Punch above one’s weight = To perform at a level above what’s expected
Below the belt = An unfair comment or action
Pull one’s punches = To be restrained in one’s criticism
Saved by the bell = Rescued at the last minute from a bad situation
Throw the towel in = To admit defeat
Have a good innings = To enjoy a long positive period
Not cricket = Not gentlemanly conduct
Level playing field = Every participant has an equal chance of success
Keep one’s eye on the ball = To remain alert and focused
Move the goalposts = To unfairly change the conditions or rules
Score an own goal = To unintentionally harm one’s own interests
Par for course = Something that’s normal or as expected
Horse riding/horse racing
Get back in the saddle = To be back doing something after taking a break from it
Straight from the horse’s mouth = Inside information or special knowledge about an event
Smooth/plain sailing = When something goes well, as planned
Stick your oar in = To interfere with something
Test the water = To check if one’s plan will be successful before proceeding
Dive in headfirst = To do something impulsively without thinking about the consequences
Out of one’s depth = Doing something that’s too difficult for one’s ability
Sink or swim = To fail or succeed by one’s own efforts
The ball’s in your court = It’s up to you to make the next move
There were so many popular sport idioms to choose from that I could only include a selection here. Have I missed out your favourite from this list? If so, please share below.
(image courtesy of digitalart / www.freedigitalphotos.net)