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

baseball expressions and sayings
ballpark figure
bat for someone
baseball idioms - bat for the other team
drop the ball
baseball idioms - first base
baseball expressions - hit a home run
baseball expressions - in full swing
baseball sayings - keep one’s eye on the ball
baseball idioms - knock it out of the park
off base
baseball expressions - on a winning streak
baseball expressions - on the ball
baseball sayings - pitch an idea
baseball sayings - play hardball
right off the bat
step up to the plate
strike a chord
baseball sayings - strike out
baseball expressions - take a rain check
baseball sayings - three strikes and you’re out
baseball sayings - throw a curveball
baseball expressions - touch base

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.