End run

End run is an American idiom. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase, or phrasal verbs that have a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. These figures of speech often use descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often colloquialisms or descriptors that are spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase or expression that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions that native speakers understand such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, eye to eye, barking up the wrong tree, bite the bullet, beat a dead horse, hit the nail on the head, kicked the bucket, blow off steam, jump on the bandwagon, piece of cake, hit the sack, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. It is possible to memorize a list of idioms, but it may be easier to pay attention to the use of idioms in everyday speech, where peculiar imagery will tell you that the expressions should not be taken literally. We will examine the meaning of the idiomatic phrase end run, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

An end run is an evasive maneuver, a strategy that goes around an obstacle–especially a person in authority–who thwarts one’s goal. The phrase is usually expressed as doing an end run or making an end run. The idiom is derived from a certain type of play in American football. In football, an end run is a play in which the ball carrier runs around the end of the line of defense instead of plowing through the middle of the line of defense. The literal use of the term end run, to mean a certain type of play in football, first appeared around the turn of the twentieth century. The idiom end run became popular mid-century. The preferred spelling, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is two, separate words. However, the hyphenated version is often seen and is acceptable.


She said she didn’t know how it was legal for the district to make an end-run around these local laws, but that it certainly wasn’t fair — particularly for those on student visas who are barred from taking a job elsewhere. (The Mountain View Voice)

Such a decision would have required an end run around the face of the Mets organization, Brodie Van Wagenen. (The New York Daily News)

Baltimore’s officials were successful in this end run around HUD policy because of their appeals to “choice,” insisting that the policy as HUD originally envisioned would be an overreach into the lives of applicants which would force them to live in areas of the city that they did not prefer. (The Palm Beach Post)

Iceland’s Naming Committee has ruled on a new batch of names, and it seems one submission tried to make an end-run around a previous ruling. (Reykjavik Grapevine)

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