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Hi dear English learners! Are you into sports? Well, here are 20 sports idioms with useful example sentences so you can learn them in context.

Ballpark figure

Meaning: an estimated number or amount.

  • If you can’t tell the exact amount, give them the ballpark figure.
  • They provided us with a ballpark figure we’d be allowed to spend on this project.

The ball is in your court

Meaning: use it to tell someone that it’s their turn to do something.

  • I asked Mary to marry me. The ball is in her court now. 
  • We offered them a good deal. The ball is in their court now. Hopefully, they’ll accept it so we can start doing business.

Blow the competition away

Meaning: to win the competition easily.

  • If you prepare well you’ll blow the competition away.
  • Ryan blew all the competition away after signing a contract with a major company. 

Call the shots

Meaning: to be in charge.

  • Ever since our boss is on sick leave, David is calling the shots.
  • My eldest brother calls the shots when our parents are away.

Give something your best shot

Meaning: to do something to the best of your ability.

  • I’ve never prepared Chinese food, but I’ll give it my best shot.
  • You should give it your best shot at school if you want to go to college.

Go the distance

Meaning: to be persistent and finish something you’ve started; to last long.

  • The two presidents should try and go the distance in reaching an agreement on this issue.
  • These batteries are very durable. They are supposed to go the distance.

20 sports idioms

Have the upper hand

Meaning: have authority or advantage;

  • As long as I am the boss here, I’ll have the upper hand.
  • When the moon rises, he’ll have more light to hunt and he’ll have the upper hand.

Hit below the belt

Meaning: to be unfair to someone in order to gain the advantage.

  • Some politicians don’t hesitate to hit their opponents below the belt in order to win the election.
  • She was hurt by the comment and she felt as if it was a hit below the belt.

Hit the ground running

Meaning: to begin working on something immediately.

  • As soon as she graduated, Milly hit the ground running in a local book shop.
  • Once he got the green light from his boss, Bob hit the ground running to finish the project.

Keep your head above water

Meaning: to manage to live or work without too many problems.

  • Although in a very difficult situation, they managed to keep their heads above water after the war.
  • If you reach up your hand, someone might be there to help you keep your head above water.

Learn the ropes

Meaning: to learn to do something.

  • As a new employee, you’ll gradually learn the ropes until you master them.
  • I’m sure it won’t take you long to learn the ropes of this trade.

Be off base

Meaning: to be wrong about something.

  • If you think that you can get promoted without hard work, you’re totally off base.
  • The figures in this report seem to be off base. Will you check them out again?

Out of someone’s league

Meaning: not as good as somebody else.

  • Everybody at the competition spoke English better than me. I felt out of their league.
  • Simon’s girlfriend is way smarter and prettier than him. Don’t you think he’s out of her league?

20 sports idioms

Skate on thin ice

Meaning: to be in a potentially dangerous situation.

  • Unless you’re able to pay your bills and have enough money for food with your freelancing job, you’ll soon be skating on thin ice.
  • If the boss sees you smoking in the corridor, you may soon be skating on thin ice.

Get the ball rolling

Meaning: to start working on something.

  • To get the ball rolling, we launched a new product last week.
  • Blogging is always a good way to get to ball rolling when it comes to some businesses.

Take the bull by the horns

Meaning: to deal with the problem, no matter how serious it is.

  • When the war ended, the government decided to take the bull by the horns and deal with the problems the best they could.
  • You should take the bull by the horns and tell your boyfriend to move out. 

Take the gloves off

Meaning: to act openly and in a hostile way in order to solve the problem.

  • I think it’s time to take the gloves off and tell them your opinion about this matter.
  • We could see that they took their gloves off when they started pushing each other and arguing.

Take time out

Meaning: to take a break and do something different than what you usually do.

  • The famous actress took time out from filming and went on a city trip to Rome with her family.
  • I think that you’ve been working way too hard lately. Why don’t you take time out and have a proper rest?

Throw in the towel

Meaning: to give up.

  • Sarah got so tired of her job as a waitress that she threw in the towel and quit it. Now she’s looking for an office job.
  • Just when he was ready to throw in the towel and give it all up, George won million dollars on the lottery.

Touch base

Meaning: to talk to someone for a while; to exchange news.

  •  We touched base with some old friends while we were on holiday.
  • Make sure you touch base with your dentist so you can make an appointment.
20 sports idioms
20 sports idioms
20 sports idioms
20 sports idioms

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Idioms and Expressions Related to Knowledge - My Lingua Academy · 6 May 2022 at 11:31 am

[…] 20 Sports Idioms […]

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