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.
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.
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.
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