By: Jacqui Morel, Work and Travel Marketing and Outreach Intern

In the United States, it is common to use sports terminology in conversations that do not relate to sports (so strange, we know)! Check out this list of phrases that you may hear during your stay and learn what they mean to become an American slang pro!

  • Ballpark: an approximate estimate (baseball)

Susan met with her supervisor to get a ballpark estimate of how much her next paycheck would be.

  • Curveball: an event or action that is unexpected (baseball)

The pop quiz on Friday was a real curveball.

  • Down to the Wire/Under the Wire: to the very last minute (horse racing)

John woke up late and ran to work under the wire.

  •  Drop the Ball: to make a mistake (baseball, rugby, football)

I forgot my mom’s birthday. I really dropped the ball on this one.

  • Get the ball rolling: to begin an endeavor

We made a list of ideas to get the ball rolling on our project.

  • Go the distance: carry through a course of action to completion (boxing)

The paper had to be 20 pages but I went the distance and finished it before the deadline.

  •  Home stretch: the final phase of a project/endeavor (horse racing)

            The home stretch of the marathon was extremely challenging until I crossed the finish line.           

  •  Keep your eye on the ball: stay focused (baseball)

School can be challenging but if you keep your eye on the ball you will make it through.

  • K.O [kay-oh]: to be knocked out (boxing)

I am so tired I feel like I am going to K.O.

  • Low blow: an unfair attack, insult, or action (boxing)

It was a low blow when John tackled his younger brother who was much smaller than him.

  • Out of the park: to exceed expectations, success (baseball)

Sarah’s speech was very captivating; she knocked it out of the park.

  • Roll with the punches: to adapt to difficult circumstances (boxing)

Brandon had a horrible week but he rolled with the punches and put on a great show.

  • Throw in the towel: to give up and admit defeat (boxing)

She threw in the towel when it became clear she would not be the president.

Want to get the ball rolling on a trip to the United States? Apply for Greenheart’s Work and Travel program!