Sports Idioms

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bush league

Meaning: describes something that is substandard, unprofessional, or lacking in sophistication.

Example: The company's presentation was so bush-league that the clients left halfway through. Read more ➺

par for the course

Meaning: as expected under the circumstances.

Example: Finding traffic on the way to work is par for the course in this city. Read more ➺

throw in the towel

Meaning: to give up a struggle

Example: After hours of struggling with the complex math problem, Jane decided to throw in the towel. Read more ➺

step up your game

Meaning: to enhance performance, quality, skills, or talents.

Example: Matthew said to Sarah, "Step up your game," to which she replied, "I already have by memorizing every act in Shakespeare's The Tempest this week." Read more ➺

a whole new ball game

Meaning: a significant change in circumstances.

Example: For most young adults, moving out is a whole new ball game. Read more ➺

down for the count

Meaning: doomed, finished, or defeated.

Example: I doubt she'll leave the hospital. Her illness has her down for the count. Read more ➺

nail biter

Meaning: a situation like a close contest, which induces anxiety or tension.

Example: Friday's nail-biter of a win over the Houston Texans was an excruciating contest. Read more ➺

wild card

Meaning: an opportunity to participate in a sporting event without having to compete in qualifying matches or be ranked at a certain level.

Example: Nobody can guess what Mark is going to do next. He's always been a bit of a wild card. Read more ➺

spare someone’s blushes

Meaning: to stop someone from feeling awkward or embarrassed.

Example: My teacher spoke up to spare the blushes of the new student. Read more ➺

rain check

Meaning: declining an offer that might be taken up later.

Example: He said he would take a rain check on visiting us today. Read more ➺