End Run – Idiom, Meaning & Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

There’s nothing quite like a good sports metaphor to get the blood pumping and the imagination churning. And when it comes to the term end run, we’re not just talking touchdowns. So, stick around for a moment while I break down all you need to know about this quirky idiom so you know how to use it properly.

Is It End-Run or End Run?

End Run – Idiom Meaning Origin

This can be a tricky one. In general, both are used interchangeably, but it really depends on the context. When used as a noun, it’s typically end run, but the hyphen sneaks in when used as a verb (for instance, ‘to end-run someone’). But hey, language is flexible, right? We’ll stick with end run for simplicity’s sake throughout this guide.

End Run Meaning Explained

Derived from American football, an end run is a play where the ball carrier flanks the line of scrimmage, hoping to dodge the defense and score. But in the grand stadium of life, doing an end run refers to bypassing a problematic situation or dodging some kind of obstacle to reach a goal. It’s like a crafty office maneuver when you go over your manager’s head to the boss.

Origin and Etymology of End Run

End Run Ngram
End run usage trend.

Making its debut in the American football playbook in the 19th century, the term end run quickly entered the everyday vernacular as an idiom.

By the mid-20th century, it was widely used to describe any maneuver that bypassed obstacles or opposition. From the gridiron to the boardroom, the phrase is a testament to our love of a good, strategic dodge!

Synonyms for End Run

  • Bypass
  • Circumvent
  • Skirt
  • Sidestep
  • Dodge

End Run Examples in a Sentence

End Run – Idiom Meaning Origin 1

Ready to scrimmage? Here are ten examples to help you get a handle on this phrase:

  • Seeing the bottleneck in middle management, Jenna did an end run by going directly to the CEO.
  • I did an end run around the grocery store chaos by shopping online instead.
  • The company performed an end run around regulations, causing significant legal trouble.
  • “To secure the deal, we might have to do an end run around the legal department,” said the sales director.
  • Kevin did an end run around the traffic by taking back roads.
  • The tech company did an end run around the competition by releasing their product early.
  • Samantha managed an end run around the strict school policy by pleading her case to the superintendent.
  • By sourcing directly from the farmers, the startup did an end run around the traditional supply chain.
  • “If we can’t get the permit, we’ll have to do an end run,” said the project manager.
  • The politician made an end run around the opposition, pushing his bill through under the radar.

Running to the End Zone

Whether on the field or in life, an end run can be a game-changer. So, if you ever find a roadblock in your path, remember this idiom. Who knows, an end run could be the winning play you need! If you loved this quick idiom guide, check out my other ones and buff up your vocabulary.