It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.
When you first apply to join the forum, you will have to wait a while to be approved. Just be patient.

Once you are a member, don't forget to check the calendar(s) for session times. Sessions are held on different platforms, so be sure to find out where the session will take place:-

Speaking Practice

LEN English sessions:-

Listening Practice 24/7

English radio playlists on Discord.

MARS/WARS and FADS - (19 Dec-?): Sporty idioms

mheredgemheredge Posts: 39,129 ✭✭✭✭
edited December 2016 in Words Words Words
I never realised that there were so many idioms that revolved around sport.

We looked at a few that refer to any sport:

take sides (any sport) - choose a person or group to support - I hate to take sides, but I think Jerry is right about the paint colour.

at this stage in the game (any sport) - at this time - Nobody knows who is going to win the election at this stage in the game.

blow the competition away (any sport) - win easily - If you wear that dress to the beauty pageant you are going to blow the competition away.

settle a score with someone (any sport) - get even with a person after a previous battle - My brother wants to settle the score with that guy who stole my wallet.

no sweat (any sport) - no problem - I told Lily it was no sweat for us to babysit next weekend.

make the cut (any sport) - be chosen to be part of a team or group - I didn't get a second interview, so
I'm pretty sure I won't make the cut.

time out (any sport) – break - Let's take some time out and grab a coffee.

And then we looked at a few that refer more specifically to gambling and cards.

Cards and gambling
under the table (gambling) – illegally - I don't have a work visa, so they have to pay me under the table.

win hands down (gambling) - easy victory - The other team was missing half of its players. We won hands down.

not playing with a full deck (of cards) (cards) - not having full brain capacity - I think Jerry was still drunk at work on Sunday because he wasn't playing with a full deck.

across the board (cards) - equal for everyone - Ten percent raises were given across the board.

hold all the aces (cards) - expected to win or succeed - The children hold all the aces when it comes to the father-son baseball tournament.

chip in (gambling) - help by donating money or time - The staff members chipped in 5 dollars each to buy Jody a birthday gift.

give something or someone a fair shake (gambling) - try for a while before giving up - You should give Nadine a fair shake before you decide she isn't good enough for the job.

have the upper hand (cards) - have a better chance of winning or succeeding - The Blues have the upper hand in the tournament, because none of their players is injured.

Well done everyone @Shiny03, @Reem, @april, @markov for coming up with examples using these idioms.

On Wednesday we will look at some more. I will also look to see if I can find subtitles for Porridge!
Post edited by mheredge on


  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 39,129 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    @markov have you seen the subtitles on this link? They are for the episodes and movie, but I think only the downloadable versions that you can save onto your laptop via Torrent.


    Otherwise, if you google 'transcripts for Porridge' you might be able to find the scripts used.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 39,129 ✭✭✭✭
    Continuing on from Monday @aladdin, @Shiny03, @markov, @nidhii, @april (on Friday I will test you to see if you remember the meanings of some of the idioms we have looked at so far!)

    Hunting and fishing
    long shot (hunting) - a very difficult thing to accomplish - Jim thinks we can afford the house, but I think it's a long shot.

    bark up the wrong tree (hunting) - you've got the wrong person or idea - I think you're barking up the wrong tree by blaming Matt for the missing money.

    shot in the dark (hunting) - a guess - I was lucky to win the quiz. All my answers were shots in the dark.

    give it your best shot (hunting) try your hardest - Give it your best shot and you may just make it to the finals.

    hot shot (big shot) (hunting) - a person who thinks they are the best - Even though Luke only placed 20th in the ski race, he thinks he's a hot shot.

    Horse racing
    neck and neck (horse racing) - to be in a close tie with someone - George and Stan are neck and neck in the hockey pool. Either of them could win the money.

    get a head start (horse racing) - start before all others - They gave the walkers a head start in the run for cancer.

    down to the wire (horse racing) - right at the end - It's coming down to the wire to get these done on time.

    the home stretch (horse racing) - almost the end - I think Alice's pregnancy is in the home stretch.

    give one a run for one's money (horseracing) - try one's hardest to defeat another person - I know the other team is expected to win, but let's give them a run for their money tonight.

    get into the full swing (tennis) - be comfortable doing something after some time - It will probably take a month of working at my new job before I get into the full swing of things.

    the ball is in your court (tennis) - it's your decision or responsibility to do something now "Do you think I should accept the job offer?" "Don't ask me. The ball is in your court now".

    a serve/to serve - hitting the ball to start a round in tennis

    get off the hook (fishing) - escape, have responsibility removed - The child got off the hook for stealing because the security camera was broken.

    = freed from an obligation or having avoided a difficult situation.
    Thanks for getting me off the hook. I didn't want to attend that meeting. I couldn't get myself off the hook no matter what I tried.
    He was out of town during the robbery so he was off the hook.
    I don't know how the muggers got off the hook.
    Once they found the real culprit, they let Mary off the hook.
    He's just happy to be off the hook on that harassment charge.
    She got him off the hook by lending him her class notes.
    They let me off the hook with a mild reprimand.
    The prosecutor dropped the charges against her so she is off the hook.
    My dad is sick so I'm off the hook for babysitting my brother tonight.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 39,129 ✭✭✭✭
    Here are Friday's idioms:

    get off the hook (fishing) - escape, have responsibility removed - The child got off the hook for stealing because the security camera was broken.

    plenty of other fish in the sea (fishing) - there are many other men and women to date - I know you still love Jack, but remember there are plenty of other fish in the sea.

    Sailing and boating
    take the wind out of one's sails (sailing) - make someone feel deflated - I think I took the wind out of Angela's sails when I told her she was a terrible singer.

    get a second wind (sailing) - have a burst of energy after tiring - I was exhausted after 3 kilometres of running, but I got a second wind after I passed the beach.

    go overboard (sailing) - do or say more than you need to - You can't believe everything Janice says about Rick. She tends to go overboard when she's complaining about him.

    hit a snag (boating) - come up against a problem - The renovations were going along great until we hit a snag with the carpet installation.

    learn the ropes (sailing) - understand new things - The first week on the job you will just be learning the ropes.

    let her rip (boating) - go ahead now - Okay, here are the keys to your new car. Let her rip!

    We didn't discuss these but here they are all the same!
    go to bat for someone (baseball) - defend someone - Andy is asking for a salary increase, and I'm going to go to bat for him if the boss says no.

    three strikes and you're out (baseball) - you only get three chances - The school's no smoking policy is three strikes and you're out.

    two strikes against (baseball) - you only have one chance remaining - Nancy is going to be fired in no time. She already has two strikes against her for coming in late.

    step up to the plate (baseball) - do the honourable thing, take responsibility - It's time you stepped up to the plate and apologized for your mistake.

    take a rain check (baseball) - accept at a later time - Sorry, I can't go to the movies today, but I'd love to take a rain check.

    to be off base (baseball) - not making a fair or true remark - You were way off base when you said Bill needed to lose weight.

    on the ball (baseball) - ready and able - The new receptionist is really on the ball when it comes to answering the phone.

    out in left field (baseball) - nowhere near being true, nowhere near doing something correctly - All of the students laughed when Joe gave an answer that was out in left field.

    out of someone's league (team sport) - not as good as someone - I'd like to date Maria, but I'm afraid I'm out of her league.

    par for the course (golf) - an expected circumstance - Waiting in line is par for the course at Christmas time.

    race against time (track) - It's a race against time to find a kidney donor for my cousin. - there is almost no time left to accomplish something

    call the shots (billiards) - make the decisions - While our boss is on vacation, Bob will call the shots.
    skate on thin ice (skating) - do something risky, take a chance - You're skating on thin ice by not
    sending in your college application before now.

    start the ball rolling (ball sports) - begin something - Please can everyone be seated so we can start the ball rolling.

    take the bull by the horns (bull fighting) - accept the challenge and try your hardest - Even though this new job will mean relocating, I think you should take the bull by the horns for once.

    throw in the towel (boxing) - give up - If they don't accept our offer this time we are going to throw in the towel and look at houses elsewhere.

    blind-sided (American football) - to not see something coming - George blind-sided Eric with his fist at the bar.

    hit below the belt (martial arts) - do or say something that is very unfair or cruel - Amanda was hitting below the belt when she called Adrian an unfit father.

    jump the gun (track) - start too early - I guess I jumped the gun by buying Pam and Steve a wedding gift. They called off the engagement.

    front runner (track) - one of the people who is expected to win - Angela is a front runner for the new supervisor position.
  • Shiny03Shiny03 Posts: 2,878 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    To attend your session is liken to ride a roller coaster and step on a landmine. It's so exciting. (I guess I am a sadist. :lol: )

    Thank you so much. I have a question, do you really use those phrases often?
  • mohit_singhmohit_singh Posts: 2,202 ✭✭✭✭
    I joined the ride when it was just going to stop rotating...Bad timing!
    I will try to join next time on time as we have holiday in college up to 2nd of January.
    Hip hip hurray! :D ;) :p :#
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 10,829 mod
    I wonder when I can get into the full swing with all those idioms; until now I need to look again at the correct idiom everytime I need that.
  • RemaRema Posts: 1,151 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    She is well preparing for the "Britain's got talent' but at this stage no one knows will she make the cut.
    She will have the upper hand because the audition will take a place at her hometown and with no doubt she is going to give it her best shot.
    She has been performing in front of 10 to 15 people, not more.
    Organisers for this event expected 1000 or more people, definitely very crowded place.
    To beat initial stage fright she will have to take the bull by the horns.
    She is a contortionist and her every motion is like skating on thin ice.
    To her happiness will be no end if she triumphs right down the wire but if not she will be desperate taking few months to get again into the full swing.
    Her father was running under the table business and recently got off the hook using his daughter as an alibi.
    The officers knew that his alibi is out in left field, but with no proof to claim opposite.
    She hasn't had luck in love, her last boyfriend usually goes overboard and takes the wind out of her sails speaking that she is not enough skilful for her proffesion.
    After breaking up with him her friend told her that there are plenty of other fish in the sea and that he is out of her league.
    I can't write about her now, maybe I'll take a rain check.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 39,129 ✭✭✭✭
    Well done @Rema (at least one person did some homework @Shiny03...)
  • Shiny03Shiny03 Posts: 2,878 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Rema you beat me to it. Thumb up. (Homework....I'm coming.)
  • takafromtokyotakafromtokyo Posts: 2,592 Inactive
    Can I ask you a question? It's not related to the topic of this thread, so I'm wondering if I could ask it here or not.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 39,129 ✭✭✭✭
    Why not just send me a message @takafromtokyo? That way I'll see it but when you just write anything in the comments' field with @ I don't see it in my email, so I will miss it.
  • takafromtokyotakafromtokyo Posts: 2,592 Inactive
    Thanks. I think it's better to reach you via email. The problem is I can't figure out how to send messages from my smartphone. I always have to start up my laptop to send a message, and I don't always have access to my laptop. I'll send you my question later when I get a chance. ( Is there a way to send messages from a smartphone?)
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 39,129 ✭✭✭✭
    Well done everyone who was around for the quiz.

    Here are the questions again:

    1. Lara is our oldest child, so she will .... while we are away for the weekend.
    a) race against time
    b) get a second wind
    c) call the shots

    2. I will ..... for Nick if he gets into trouble for leaving early.
    a) go to bat
    b) go overboard
    c) get off the hook

    3. If you take a short nap after lunch you might ... for this afternoon.
    a) get a second wind
    b) hit below the belt
    c) learn the ropes

    4. I'm sorry we couldn't hire your friend. She is just .... I'm afraid.
    a) a front runner
    b) no sweat
    c) not up to par

    5. If we .... we will beat the morning traffic.
    a) get a head start
    b) give a fair shake
    c) make the cut

    6. We are .... to arrive at the airport on time.
    a) a level playing field
    b) on target
    c) across the board

    7. It will take at least a two-week trial to give Gene .... in my opinion.
    a) a fair shake
    b) down to the wire
    c) overboard

    8. Do you think I'm .... by quitting without having a job to go to?
    a) taking a rain check
    b) skating on thin ice
    c) under the table

    9. The other team will .... because all of their players are stronger than us.
    a) win hands down
    b) be out of their league
    c) keep their heads above water

    10. I've given you Jason's phone number so .... from now on.
    a) bark up the wrong tree
    b) get into the full swing
    c) the ball’s in your court
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 39,129 ✭✭✭✭
    23 things British people do better than Americans


    1. They call a hamburger a beef burger because it's clearly made of beef.
    2. They call soccer football because it's clearly played with the foot.
    3. They use the SI (measurements) system because so does the rest of the world.
    4. Their sockets can be switched off because it's easier, safer and more energy efficient.
    5. They look at the day first, as in dd/mm/yy instead of mm/dd/yy because for around 30 days in a row, the month is the same as yesterday.
    6. They have the full English breakfast while we have the full sugar and preservatives cereal.
    7. They have portion control, resulting in higher life expectancy while we have supersized everything (because why not?), resulting in obesity (this is why not).
    8. They have nice relaxing afternoon teas with custard cream biscuits while we drown ourselves in Starbucks just to maintain functionality.
    9. Their native sports - football, rugby, cricket - are adopted internationally while our sports reside mainly in America.
    10. They have 20+ days of paid vacation by law, not including the bank holidays, maternity leave, sick leave, etc. while we have 10.
    11. They have free universal healthcare, praised as the best in the world, while we remain the only developed country (out of 33) that doesn't.
    12. They have Charles Darwin on their 10 pound note while 42 per cent of Americans still believe in creationism.
    13. They produced Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Chronicles of Narnia, Sherlock Holmes while we produced Twilight.
    14. They produced Adele, David Bowie, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Coldplay, Radiohead, Muse, Queen, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Smiths, The Libertines, The Who? (The British), The Faces, The Waterboys, The Buzzcocks, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Zombies, The Slits, The Stone Roses, The Cure, The Darkness while we didn't.
    15. Their national animal has a full head of mane while ours is bald.
    16. They know how to primly and properly queue while we mass frenziedly.
    17. They know how to primly and properly apologise, for everything.
    18. They know how to primly and properly drive on the wrong side of the road.
    19. They know how to appreciate the sun because though the sun never sets in the British empire, it rarely shines in the motherland.
    20. They make better and greater varieties of chocolates, cheeses, cakes, alcoholic beverages and dishes with questionable names (bubble and squeak, spotted dick, singing hinnies).
    21. They have a greater grasp of sarcasm, irony, self-deprecating humour and also, the entire English language.
    22. They beat us at politeness and profanity at the same time.
    23. The English accent is more attractive than the American accent. This is just an indisputable fact of nature.

  • mohit_singhmohit_singh Posts: 2,202 ✭✭✭✭
    Where are the answers to all those Quiz's Question? @mheredge
Sign In or Register to comment.