Sports Idioms Part 2

A few weeks ago, we looked at some sports idioms that are in use in everyday language. As you might imagine, there are a huge amount of these phrases in common usage.

Here are a few more popular sports idioms. See how many you know already and can use in conversation. Even if you use the phrases, do you know their origins?

Sports Idioms - barking up the wrong tree
This dog is barking up (and on!) the wrong tree.

Barking up the wrong tree

Meaning: to make a mistake, to get something wrong

Origin: Hunting. When hunting dogs would bark at the bottom of trees, mistakenly thinking they had chased the fox or other animal up there.

Example: “Santi asked Francis for help, but he was barking up the wrong tree.”

Let you off the hook

Meaning: to escape or get out of something

Origin: Fishing. When someone catches a fish, using a fishing hook, but decides to let the fish go back into the water.

Example: “Jay decided to let Adnan off the hook for forgetting his birthday.”

Neck and neck

Meaning: to be exactly even or equal with something or someone, usually in a race or contest

Origin: Horse racing. When two horses in a race are side by side.

Example: “I’m asking people if they prefer Breaking Bad or Mad Men: so far it’s neck and neck.”

Sports Idioms Neck and Neck
These two horses are neck and neck.

Plain sailing

Meaning: smooth and easy progress

Origin: Sailing, obviously. When the water is calm and there are no complications, a boat has plain sailing.

Example: “My English class today was plain sailing.”

Throw in the towel

Meaning: to give up

Origin: Boxing. If a boxer is losing badly and wants to stop the fight, their team will literally throw a towel into the boxing ring.

Example: “Bruce was losing 4-0 on FIFA, so he threw in the towel.”

To score an own goal

Meaning: to do something that makes the situation worse for you

Origin: Lots of sports, most notably football (or soccer). If you kick the ball into your own net, you have scored an own goal (a goal for the opposition).

Example: “You really scored an own goal when told the new manager you didn't like his haircut.”

http://youtu.be/T6xYxfYdS5o

Do you know any other sports idioms? Use the comment section below to let us know your favorites.

If you want to learn more idioms, here is a list of some of our favorite topics. Hopefully it will be plain sailing…
Idioms about happiness
Idioms about sadness
Music idioms
Color idioms
School idioms

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