What Is a Grand Slam? – 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.

A grand slam is used to describe an achievement worth noting and celebrating, like a significant success in sports. But we use it in so many contexts these days. Want to figure out how this term transitioned from a bridge game to baseball and beyond? I’ve got all the details right here, even some examples of how to use the phrase in a sentence.

Grand Slam Meaning Explained

What Is a Grand Slam – Idiom Meaning Origin 1

In its most recognizable form, a grand slam is a common sports term we use to show a huge achievement. In baseball, it means hitting a home run with all three bases loaded, which is scoring four runs.

In the game of tennis, it’s all about winning all four major championships in a calendar year. I’m looking at you, Williams sisters!

And in the card game called Bridge, a grand slam means winning all thirteen tricks. But beyond these super-specific contexts, the expression is broadly used to describe a huge success or achievement in any field.

When I got my first big publishing deal, after years of swimming in small author waters, it was a major grand slam for me. I’ll cherish that moment to my death!

Grandslam or Grand Slam?

It’s grand slam, two separate words. You’ll definitely come across it misspelled as one word, especially with the rise of internet slang and shorthand, but I promise that the correct usage is two distinct words.

Grand Slam Etymology and Origin

Grand Slam Ngram
Grand slam usage trend.

The whole idea of a grand slam originally came about in the 1800s and stemmed from the card game Whist, which is actually a precursor to Bridge. In the game of Whist, getting a slam meant taking all the tricks.

When Bridge became popular, the term just carried over, and grand slam was coined to mean winning all thirteen tricks. The term’s success in Bridge likely influenced its adoption into other sports, like baseball and tennis, where it was used to describe the pinnacle of sporty achievements.

Synonyms to Use for the Grand Slam Idiom

  • Major victory
  • Home run (in contexts outside baseball)
  • Major win
  • Clean sweep
  • Big hit

Using Grand Slam: Examples in a Sentence

What Is a Grand Slam – Idiom Meaning Origin 2

  • Candace’s recent book release was a grand slam in the indie publishing world.
  • The author’s latest book is nothing short of a grand slam, topping bestseller lists worldwide.
  • “If you can land that new account, it’ll be a grand slam for our sales team,” the manager told her staff.
  • At the science fair, Jenny’s innovative project about how drug store lotions are bad for your skin was a grand slam with the judges.
  • By mastering four different languages in just two years, Rosa achieved an academic grand slam.
  • “This recipe is a grand slam; every guest asked for seconds,” Martha proudly declared at the potluck.
  • Winning the Oscar after bagging the Golden Globe and BAFTA was a grand slam moment for the young actress.
  • “This concert’s lineup is a grand slam of all my favorite bands,” exclaimed an excited fan.
  • She didn’t just win; she delivered a grand slam performance, leaving her competitors in awe.

Final Score

From the bridge table to the baseball diamond and beyond into everyday vernacular, the term grand slam has made a pretty big mark on our language. This phrase is perfect for talking about any sort of great achievement, so keep it handy!