(the) ball is in your court
If the ball is in your court, it is your turn to speak or act next.
“We gave the manager a list of complaints, so the ball is in his court now.”
have a ball
If you have a ball you enjoy yourself immensely.
“The party was great. We all had a ball.”
(be) on the ball
If you are on the ball, you are aware of what is happening and are able to deal with things quickly and intelligently.
“We need someone who is really on the ball to head the fund-raising campaign.”
start the ball rolling
If you start the ball rolling, you begin an activity in which other people will join.
“Let’s start the ball rolling by calling on our first speaker.”
that’s the way the ball bounces
Things don’t always work out as planned, and there’s nothing we can do about it – that’s life.
“He didn’t get the prize he expected, but never mind – that’s the way the ball bounces.”
(a) whole new ball game
To refer to something as a whole new ball game means that it is a completely different situation due to a new set of circumstances.
“Email and text messaging have made communication a whole new ball game.”
dive in headfirst
If you begin something enthusiastically, without thinking about the possible consequences, you dive in headfirst.
“Tony accepted the project without calculating the time it would take; he always dives in headfirst!”
If someone is on a fishing expedition, they are trying to obtain information in any way possible.
“The lunch invitation was clearly a fishing expedition to obtain information about his private life.”
fishing for compliments
When someone is obviously waiting for you to say something nice, they are fishing for compliments.
“I know why she invited us to her new house – she’s just fishing for compliments.”
at this stage of the game
The expression ‘at this stage of the game‘ refers to the current point reached in a process, activity or developing situation.
“I think any further intervention would be unwise at this stage of the game. Let’s wait and see how things develop.”
give the game away
If you give the game away, you reveal a secret or a plan, often unintentionally.
“He hoped nobody in the hotel would recognize him, but an employee gave the game away.”
play the game
If you play the game, you accept to do things according to generally-accepted customs or code of behaviour.
“Not all website owners play the game. Some download content from other sites without permission.”
play games with someone
If you are not completely honest, or behave in a way that is insincere, evasive or intentionally misleading, you are playing games with someone.
“Look, stop playing games with us. Just tell us if you’re interested in the project or not.”
two can play at that game
You say this to tell someone that you can behave towards them in the same unpleasant way that they have behaved towards you.
“He refuses to take my call? Tell him two can play at that game!”
a waiting game
A person who plays a waiting game delays taking any action or making any decision because they prefer to wait and see how things develop, usually in the hope that this will put them in a stronger position.
“Our competitors are not reacting. They’re playing a waiting game.”
hang up your boots
When a sports player hangs up their boots, they stop playing and retire.
(This expression is often used to refer to retirement in general.)
“Dad says he’s going to hang up his boots at the end of the year.”
learn the ropes
If you learn the ropes, you learn how to do a particular job correctly.
“He’s a bright young man. It won’t take him long to learn the ropes.”
make the cut
If you make the cut, you reach a required standard or succeed in passing from one round of a competition to another.
“After intensive training, Sarah made the cut and joined the team.”
paddle your own canoe
If you paddle your own canoe, you do what you want to do without help or interference from anyone.
“David decided to paddle his own canoe and set up his own business.”
a race against time
When someone is in a race against time, they have to work very quickly in order to do or finish something before a certain time.
“It was a race against time to get everything ready for the inauguration.”
ride (someone’s) coattails
If you use your connections with someone successful in order to achieve fame or success for yourself, without any personal effort, you ride their coattails.
“The candidate rode his uncle’s coattails in the hope of being elected.”
If you ride roughshod over something, you behave in a harsh or thoughtless manner, or you treat a situation with contempt.
“The government rode roughshod over all opposition to the new measures.”
ride it out / ride out the storm
If you manage to survive a dangerous or very unpleasant situation, like a ship sailing through a storm, you ride it out.
“His business was hit by the recession but he managed to ride it out.”
let something ride
When you decide to do nothing about a particular situation and allow it to remain as it is, you let it ride.
“Bill didn’t like the way his wife spoke to the operator, but he let it ride to avoid another quarrel.”
take someone for a ride
To take someone for a ride means to cheat or deceive them.
“I discovered he had charged me double the normal fee. He really took me for a ride!”
Someone who is riding high is enjoying a period of success or popularity.
“He’s been riding high since the success of his last film.”
sail close to the wind
If you sail close to the wind, you do something dangerous or act just within the limits of what is legal or acceptable.
“He seems to invest his money well although he often sails close to the wind.”
sail through something
If you sail through something, for example a test or an exam, you succeed in doing it without difficulty.
“The English test was no problem for Pedro. He sailed through it.”
take the wind out of someone’s sails
If someone or something takes the wind out of your sails, they make you feel less confident by doing or saying something that you do not expect.
“The manger’s rejection of our marketing strategy really took the wind out of our sails.”
skating on thin ice
If you are skating on thin ice, you are doing or saying something risky, or something that could cause trouble.
“Don’t mention that subject during the negotiations or you could be skating on thin ice.”
sink or swim
If someone has to sink or swim, they have to do something alone, and their success or failure depends entirely on their own efforts.
“The sink-or-swim attitude in the company can be very difficult for young recruits.”
swim against the tide
A person who is doing or saying the opposite to most other people is said to be .
“Perhaps it’s because she always swims against the tide that her books are successful.”