Seven interesting English sports expressions and idioms

footballerIt’s amazing how many English idioms and expressions come from sports. All of the idioms and expressions below originated as sporting terms but nowadays we can hear them used to talk about a wide range of situations related to life and work.

to reach the home straight
Meaning: to be nearly finished doing something
Example: Preparing for that presentation was hard work but we’ve reached the home straight now.

game plan
Meaning: plan of action
Example: What’s the game plan for dealing with the new client?

the ball is in your court
Meaning: it’s your responsibility / decision
Example: I’ve made my contribution to the group so the ball is in your court now.

get the ball rolling
Meaning: to start a process
Example: Let’s get the ball rolling on this project and start right away.

heavy hitter / big hitter
Meaning: an important person
Example: He’s a really big hitter in the film industry.

below the belt
Meaning: unfair
Example: That comment was really below the belt.

on the ball
Meaning: up-to-date and aware of what is going on
Example: She’s really on the ball about the latest technology.

throw in the towel
Meaning: to give up / to quit
Example: I couldn’t stand my job anymore so I threw in the towel and decided to work for myself.

Next week, we’ll look at food expressions. In the meantime, can you think of any more sports idioms?

Today’s image is by Michal Zacharzewski.