full court press (phrases/words borrowed from sports)

I heard the phrase “full-court press” on the national news yesterday, used in the general sense to mean applying a lot of pressure (in this case, psychological pressure). It’s a common enough phrase that people know what it means even if they haven’t watched enough basketball to know when the strategy is being used. So, what are some other phrases or terms borrowed from sports that are so commonly used (e.g., in English) that they are de-linked from their sports meanings, i.e., an English speaker would know the meaning of the phrase/term as an idiom even if he/she doesn’t know anything about the sport.

Other examples
home run
quarterback (verb)

Grand slam
Hail Mary
End around

Boxing is full of them:

Up off the mat,
Knocked out,
Down for the count,
Glass jaw,

The list is almost endless.

Good list here.

Blitz (though that, in turn, was borrowed from the German term blitzkrieg)

Thanks for the link - most of those are good, but I guess I’m most interested in finding ones where the idiomatic meaning is so common that you don’t have to know anything about the sport. I’m not sure “hat trick” counts because I don’t think Americans who aren’t hockey fans (or cricket fans, apparently) know that phrase refers to a unit of three. Also not sure about “drop the gloves” for the same reason.

“end run” and “run interference” are good ones

Sudden-death (overtime)
Extra innings
Chip shot

Own goal

A list of English language idioms from baseball

Some golf ones:
On a tee, tee off on
Par for the course

Chin Music

Drop the ball

Behind the Eight Ball


The list of idioms from baseball is interesting. There are a lot of good examples of phrases analogous to “full-court press,” but IMO the best examples are
batting a thousand
cleanup hitter
A few aren’t so well known to the non-fan (I’ve heard other people have to explain these ones)
ducks on a pond
Mendoza line
on deck

Not what I was looking for, but interesting - novel meaning that isn’t a simple metaphor derived from the baseball meaning
ballpark (approximation)
play hardball
out of left field

For a general sports idiom, there’s “level playing field”

Jumping the Gun

step up to the plate (I almost used this the other day in a discussion about football players…that would have been a mixed metaphor!)

being a benchwarmer
out of bounds
on the sidelines

Raising the bar

double team
head fake
in the penalty box
pit stop

dream team

giving someone the Heisman (keeping him at a distance)
built like a linebacker
moving the goalpost
home turf

There’s a ton of common idioms in American English that originate from baseball.

out of left field
off base
touching all the bases
on the ball/ dropped the ball
right off the bat
ballpark figure
two strikes against you/ that’s your second strike
playing hardball
playing the field
out of your league
step up to the plate
___ is a hit
thrown for a curve
going to bat for someone
close call
make a pitch
touch base
knocking one out of the park

From horse racing:


More from baseball:

bush league
three strikes and you're out (e.g. the "three strikes" laws)

From cricket:

not cricket

On a sticky wicket
Let it through to the keeper
Fed a dolly
Skied it/Spooned it
Played on
Bowled a googly

From Bridge (and possibly related card games)–following suit.

Those are not particularly common–and the first, third, and last are likely to draw a whole lotta :confused::confused::confused: in the U.S…