Thursday, May 16, 2013

cliché: behind the eight ball (8 ball)

Meaning: Put at a disadvantage or unfavorable position (definition).

Example: With nothing but difficult options before him, Bill found himself behind the eight ball.

Origins: Billiards and the game of Eight Ball, perhaps Eight-ball Croquet. First use is in the 1929 Sheboygan Press about baseball. (Source.)


Rewrites:
  • behind the hate ball
  • behind the black ball
  • behind the odd ball
  • behind the mid-ball
  • behind the killer ball
  • menaced by the eight ball
  • intimidated by the eight ball
  • gamed by the eight ball
  • galled by the eight ball
  • on the unlucky side of the eight ball

Discussion: I tried to play on the variety of ways you might think of facing an eight ball in a game of billiards. 

Update: I had struggled with rewriting this cliche for some reason. As I was promoting his page on social media, an entirely new angle hit me - other game metaphors:

  • caught between the chutes and the ladders
  • caught at the bottom of a Sorry! slide

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