Boost up your speech skills



Sport or sports?

  1. sport (noun, uncountable): johhny loves sport;
  2. sports (noun, countable): johnny plays two sports; football and tennis;
  3. sports (adjective): johhny reads the sports news every day.
Word Meaning Example sentence
amateur engaged in something, like playing sports, without payment; non-professional The Olympic Games were originally for amateur athletes only.
athlete a person who trains for and competes in a sport Most professional athletes spend hours every day in training.
award to give someone something as a reward for high achievement All the members of the winning team were awarded a gold medal.
beat to defeat someone in a game or a competition Italy beat France to win the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
cheer on to shout encouragement to a team or a player The fans made a lot of noise cheering on their team.
coach a person who trains and directs an athlete or a sports team Players should carry out their coach's instructions during a game.
compete to take part in a contest or a competition Over 10,000 athletes will compete in the Olympic Games.
contest a game or event in which people compete to win Do you know who won this year's figure skating contest?
court a quadrangular area on which ball games are played, such as tennis or basketball The tennis courts at Wimbledon in London have a grass surface.
course an area of land prepared for racing, golf, or other sports A golf course usually has eighteen holes.
cup a cup-shaped trophy, awarded as a prize in a contest After they won the final game, the winners were awarded the Championship Cup.
defeat to win a victory over opponents in a game or contest; to beat Our players were very happy after they defeated their opponents in the final game.
draw to finish a contest or game with an even score; tie The score was 1-0, but the losing team got a late goal and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
final score the score at the end of a game Today's basketball game was very close. The final score was 84 to 82.
half-time the interval between the first and second halves of a game The players went into the rooms at half-time and listened to their coach.
league a group of sports clubs that play each other over a period for a championship Nearly every town in the U.S. has teams in a local baseball league.
leisure free time, or the use of free time for enjoyment It's good for kids to spend some of their leisure time playing sports.
lob Her lob flew high into the air and dropped into the back of the court, just inside the baseline. A shot that is hit in a high arc, usually over the opponent's head.
offside In an illegal position ahead of the ball (in football, rugby, hockey, etc.) Forwards have to learn how to avoid being caught in an offside position.
opponent the person one competes against in a contest or a game; rival Roger Federer's opponent in the Wimbledon final was Rafael Nadal.
pass to throw or kick the ball to another player on one's own team A defender tries to pass the ball to a forward in a good position to score.
penalty a punishment imposed on a player or team for breaking the rules of a sport The penalty for abusing a referee is usually a one-match suspension.
physique the form or shape of a person's body Rugby players work hard in the gym to build up their physiques.
pitch (1) a playing field (British) The fans cheered as the players ran onto the pitch.
pitch (2) a throw of the ball, esp. in baseball and softball Our pitcher threw one of the best pitches of his life to win the game.
score the number of points a competitor or team earns during a game Do you know how to keep score in badminton?
serve to hit the ball to begin play (in tennis, table tennis, squash, volleyball, etc.) Serving the ball is one of the most important skills in sports like tennis.
shoot to kick, hit, or throw the ball in an attempt to score a goal (in soccer, hockey, basketball, etc.) In basketball, players try shoot from outside the 3-point line to score the extra points.
spectator a person who watches an event Spectators can add a lot to sporting events by creating an exciting atmosphere.
sportsmanship an attitude of fairness, respect for opponents, and graciousness in winning or losing Good managers know how to teach their players sportsmanship.
tackle to challenge an opponent who has the ball Rugby players have to learn how to tackle an opponent strongly but fairly.
teamwork the combined action of a group of people The best teams spend a lot of time on the training ground working on teamwork.
tie a result in a game in which teams have the same final score; a draw The score was very close throughout the game, and it ended in a tie with 89 points each.
trophy a decorative object awarded as a prize in a contest or a tournament The players carried the trophy over their heads as they ran around the stadium.
umpire a sports official with authority to make rulings during a contest In a game of cricket, there are two umpires on the field during play.
whistle a small instrument that makes a high-pitched noise when blown The referee blew his whistle twice to signal the end of the match.

Sport Idioms

Sports idioms generally originate from a specific sport such as baseball or sailing. Over time these phrases have come to mean something that can be used in everyday life. While most sports idioms can still be used when discussing sports, they are even more common in other areas of life, especially the business world. You can study these idioms just as you would any other vocabulary. Look at the model sentences and practise writing your own. When you think you have mastered all of the idioms, take the quiz and test your knowledge. More importantly, try using them at work, school, and social events. You will sound like a pro!

Idiom sport of origin Meaning Example sentence
across the board cards equal for everyone Ten percent raises were given across the board.
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.
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".
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.
blind-sided any sport to not see something coming George blind-sided Eric with his fist at the bar.
call the shots billiards make the decisions While our boss is on vacation, Bob will call the shots.
front runner track one of the people who is expected to win Angela is a front runner for the new supervisor position.
get a head start horse racing start before all others They gave the walkers a head start in the run for cancer.
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.
get off the hook fishing escape, have responsibility removed The child got off the hook for stealing because the security camera was broken.
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.
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.
give it your best shot hunting try your hardest Give it your best shot and you may just make it to the finals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
hit a snag boating come up against a problem The renovations were going along great until we hit a snag with the carpet installation.
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.
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.
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.
keep one's head above water swimming try not to fall behind in work or other duties We are so busy during the tourist season I can barely keep my head above water.
learn the ropes sailing understand new things The first week on the job you will just be learning the ropes.
level playing field any field sport everyone has an equal chance The spelling bee is a level playing field because all of the kids are in grade nine.
long shot hunting a very difficult thing to accomplish Jim thinks we can afford the house, but I think it's a long shot.
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.
no sweat any sport no problem I told Lily it was no sweat for us to babysit next weekend.
not up to par golf not good enough for a job or position I'm afraid your resume isn't up to par for the engineering position.
on target darts doing the right thing to succeed We are on target to meet our budget this month.
on the ball baseball ready and able The new receptionist is really on the ball when it comes to answering the phone.
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.
race against time track there is almost no time left to accomplish something It's a race against time to find a kidney donor for my cousin.
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.
shot in the dark hunting a guess I was lucky to win the quiz. All my answers were shots in the dark.
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 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.
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.
time out any sport break Let's take some time out and grab a coffee.
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.