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Sports Idioms

Average: 3.7 (6 votes)

There are so many idioms we use in daily conversation that have a connection with sport.

Look at the list and the explanations.

The sports they are originally derived from are in brackets.

a. To get second wind: to get a sudden burst of energy (sailing). "I was feeling tired after lunch, but I got my second wind in the afternoon."

b. To throw in the towel: to quit or give up and admit defeat (boxing). "It was so difficult that we almost threw in the towel a couple of times."

c. To bark up the wrong tree: to have the wrong idea or blame the wrong person (hunting) "She didn't steal your bike, you are barking up the wrong tree."

d. To keep your eye on the ball: to stay focused and goal-orientated (golf) "If you want to be a success, you need to keep your eye on the ball."

e. To give it your best shot: to try your hardest (hunting) "We gave it our best shot, but we still can't fix your car."

f. To get into the full swing of things: to adjust completely to a new situation (tennis) "I'm getting into the swing of things after working here for 3 weeks."

g. To go the distance: to carry through a course of action to completion (boxing) "It's a difficult business course - I'm worried he won't be able to go the distance."

h. The ball is in (someone's) court: it is this person's responsibility to make the next move (tennis) "We offered $3000 for his car - the ball is in his court now."

i. To blow the whistle on someone: to reveal information about someone. "She blew the whistle when she discovered her boss was stealing money."

j. To dive right into (something): to begin to do something without hesitating (swimming) "Let's prepare well and not just dive right into it this time."

Lesson by Danica, teacher at EC Cape Town English School

Use the letters (a, b, c and so on) in the boxes below to complete the sentences. Do not type in the whole idiom:

  • 1) I when I accused my boyfriend of cheating. He was just having lunch with his sister.
  • 2) When I started at my new job it only took me one week to . After the first week I was already good friends with my bosses and colleagues and it felt like I had been working there for years.
  • 3) I was so tired after work that I just wanted to sleep, but when I got home opened my books to study. Surprisingly, I and studied till after midnight!
  • 4) I had never before entered a modelling competition. My friends persuaded me and I . To my surprise I ended up in the Top 10!
  • 5) After trying for more than an hour to change my car's tyre, I and phoned someone to come do it for me.
  • 6) Our team at work really with our last project. We worked after hours and even on some weekends to meet the deadline.
  • 7) I went for an interview for the job as an English teacher at EC. Now is in the director’s court to employ me or not.
  • 8) The student on the teacher after he had not prepared for his lessons.
  • 9) I have to and be very self-disciplined I want to complete my course this year.
  • 10) When the new year started I my studies, because I did not want to waste any time.