Welcome to your Test your knowledge of sporting idioms.

Sport is a huge part of British and all Anglo-Saxon culture and it is naturally reflected in the way we speak. We use expressions from boxing, horse racing, football, cricket and even card games to give our language more character and make it more interesting. 

As a learner of English it's important to learn some idioms to be able to fit in more easily with the Anglo-Saxon culture.

Just in case you're wondering what an idiom is, take a look at this:

An idiom is a phrase or an expression that has a figurative, or sometimes literal, meaning. So you will see that these sporting idioms are based on real sports situations but the meaning has been transferred to non-sporting events, situations or feelings. While there are thousands of idioms, occurring frequently in all languages it is estimated that there are at least twenty-five thousand idiomatic expressions in the English language !

So "don't let the side down", "give it your best shot", try this quiz of just 18 questions to see just how useful it is to learn idioms. It could catapult your English into "a whole new ball game" !!!


If someone is said to have "a safe pair of hands", what are their qualities?

What does "par for the course" mean?

What does "barking up the wrong tree" mean?

In this picture the runner "jumped the gun". What does this mean in every day language. 

What happens to you if someone "throws you a curveball"?

If someone is "knocked for six", how are they feeling?

If you "call the shots", what are you ?

What does "no holds barred" imply?

When would you need to "learn the ropes"?

What happens if you "jump in at the deep end" ?

What happens if the "ball is in your court"?

To be "on the ball" means.......

In which situation would you use "to throw in the towel"?

In this sport, sometimes people are sent "for an early bath". What does this mean in  every day language?

What does "to be pipped at the post" mean?

A popular expression in the USA is to "hit something out of the ballpark". What are they referring to?

What is a Monday Morning Quarterback

What's the problem if someone "moves the goalposts"?