par for the course


par for the course (idiomatic phrase)
/prɑːr fɔr ðə kɔrs/


  • as expected under the circumstances.
  • typical or normal.
  • to be usual or to be as one might expect.
  • a situation or event that is not surprising, given the circumstances.
  • something typical or normal for a particular situation.

Example Sentences

  1. Finding traffic on the way to work is par for the course in this city.
  2. Unfortunately, receiving poor customer service is par for the course with this company.
  3. Given the project’s complexity, delays were par for the course.
  4. It’s par for the course to experience some nervousness before a big presentation.
  5. For a startup, financial ups and downs are par for the course.
  6. Dealing with unexpected challenges is par for the course when running your own business.

Origin and History

Golf is the origin of the idiom “par for the course,” where “par” refers to the standard number of strokes a skilled golfer should take to complete a hole or an entire course. Over time, this golfing term has transcended its original context to describe situations or outcomes that are typical, expected, or average.

In golf, achieving par means completing a hole or course with the expected number of strokes, reflecting an average or standard performance. This concept easily translates into everyday language, where “par for the course” signifies something that is usual or predictable within a particular context. For example, if delays are common in a specific type of project, one might say, “Delays are just par for the course with these kinds of projects.”

Historical Usage

The phrase began to gain traction in the early 1900s. Its first documented use outside the golfing context appeared in the May 1932 issue of Princeton Alumni Weekly:

“Whatever is to be done in Washington would better be done quickly. If the industry and business knew the par for the course, people would be disposed to go ahead.”

The above usage demonstrates the metaphorical use of the term to convey an understanding of what to expect in a particular situation.

Common Application

While the idiom can technically be used in both positive and negative contexts, it is more frequently applied to situations that are less than ideal or involve minor setbacks.

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