In this lesson, you will learn a list of 10 sports idioms and phrases in English to use in your daily life.
Sports Idioms in English
Learn 10 sports idioms in English with meaning and examples.
- Meaning: A term mostly used in games like football, cricket, hockey and rugby. It is used when someone achieves three successes one after another. These could be three wickets, three goals etc.
- For example: If he wins this election, it will be a hat trick for him! Three consecutive terms in office!
Ball in your court
- Meaning: A phrase used to show that the decision has to be taken by you. The word ‘your’ can be replaced with ‘his’, ‘her’, ‘my’ etc.
- For example: The manager told the employee curtly, “Either accept the terms and conditions or leave, the ball is in your court”.
Still in the game
- Meaning: This phrase is used when someone is in a difficult situation but can make a comeback.
- For example: We may not be out of the crisis yet, but that just means we have to work harder. Don’t lose hope, we’re still in the game!
Pack a punch
- Meaning: This phrase is taken from the sport of boxing and is used to describe a strong influence.
- For example: His talk packed a punch and enthralled the audience.
Whole new ball game
- Meaning: This term is used to depict something different or completely unheard of.
- For example: I come from a sales background, so management is a whole new ball game for me!
Jump the gun
- Meaning: Athletes begin a race after a gunshot. The phrase is used when someone starts before the appropriate time (or before the gun is fired)
- For example: I asked her to marry me after two dates. I guess I may have jumped the gun.
Keep your eye on the ball
- Meaning: A phrase used in games like cricket, football etc where the focus of the game is the ball. To keep your eye on the ball means to stay alert and ready for action.
- For example: The teacher saw the student looking distracted and yelled, “if you want to do well in my class you’d better keep your eye on the ball”.
- Meaning: Used commonly in sports like racing, photo finish is used to describe a situation when two contestants finish the race at almost the same time; it is difficult to gauge who crossed the line first. The term originated from the practice of taking a photo at the finish line.
- For example: The race between Amir and Anil was so close that it was a deemed a photo finish which required examining a picture of the two runners as they crossed the finish line.
Quick off the mark
- Meaning: The phrase is used for someone who is alert and hence, quick to start or do something.
- For example: The policemen were quick off the mark and arrived at the scene of crime barely five minutes after the phone call.
A sticky wicket
- Meaning: The phrase originated from the game of cricket and is used to describe a tricky situation.
- For example: The minister found himself on a sticky wicket when asked about the rampant corruption.