Baseball is team game that is played on a diamond-shaped field with 4 bases. Each team has 9 players and the aim is to hit a ball with a bat and then run around the bases to score points.
Baseball idioms and expressions
Many idioms originated from baseball and here is a list of them with examples.
- ballpark figure
meaning – an approximate figure
example – The ballpark figure is 500 guests, it could be a lot more.
- bat for someone
meaning – support/help/defend someone
example – Do you think you could bat for me and speak to your boss? I really need this job.
- bat for the other team
meaning – homosexual
example – Do you think Stanley bats for the other team? He’s never had a girlfriend.
- drop the ball
meaning – make a mistake, neglect someone/something
example – I dropped the ball! The buyer pulled out last minute, I’m in big trouble.
- first base
meaning – kissing
example – I’ve been flirting outrageously with a guy at work. I think we’ll reach first base soon.
- hit a home run
meaning – do something that is very successful
example – Our latest product is selling like crazy. We’ve hit a home run.
- in full swing
meaning – operating fully, the level of activity is at its highest
example – I love this time of year; the football season is in full swing.
- keep one’s eye on the ball
meaning – stay focused
example – We need to keep out eye on the ball, our final exams start in a month.
- knock it out of the park
meaning – do something very well
example – He needs to knock it out of the park with his next few shots.
- off base
meaning – incorrect, mistaken
example – You seem a little off base today class. Perhaps because we’re nearing the end of term.
- on a winning streak
meaning – had lots of recent successes
example – I might buy a lottery ticket, I’m on a winning streak at the moment.
- on the ball
meaning – alert, focused, efficient
example – You haven’t been on the ball recently. Are you having problems at home?
- pitch an idea
meaning – offer ideas to be discussed
example – I pitched a few holiday ideas to the missus, but she didn’t like any of them.
- play hardball
meaning – be ruthless and do anything necessary to get what you want
example – Let’s play hardball with the suspect. We need to find out where he dumped the body.
- right off the bat
meaning – immediately, from the beginning
example – I knew right off the bat it was a bad idea.
- step up to the plate
meaning – come forward and take responsibility especially in times of crisis
example – Two employees have quit. I need everyone to step up to the plate to ensure orders are done.
- strike a chord
meaning – trigger a reaction/emotion/response
example – I’m hoping my article on knife crime will strike a chord with younger readers.
- strike out
meaning – put a line through text or do something new
example – Please strike out any food you have an allergy to.
- take a rain check
meaning – a nice way of refusing an invitation on this particular occasion
example – Can I take a rain check on drinks after work? I`ve had a really tough day.
- three strikes and you’re out
meaning – after you commit three offences, you will be punished
example – I need to behave at school this term. They are bringing in a three strikes and you’re out rule.
- throw a curveball
meaning – surprise someone with a problem/situation/issue etc. which causes difficulties
example – She threw me a curveball and told me she was 4 months pregnant.
- touch base
meaning – communicate with someone
example – The camping trip was great, I got to touch base with some old friends.
Baseball idioms and expressions with pictures
You can download a table of baseball idioms and expressions below.
If you’ve enjoyed this page, don’t forget to check out some more sports idioms by clicking on the links below.