Par for the course

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Par for the course is an idiom that has been in a little over fifty years. We will examine the meaning of the idiomatic term par for the course, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Par for the course describes something that may be expected, the usual, something that is normal. The idiom par for the course is most often used when one is annoyed. For instance, if one’s child falls sick the day the family is supposed to leave on vacation, it may be considered par for the course–assuming that something will always go wrong at the most inopportune time. However, the expression par for the course may simply describe something that is expected. For instance, an average student may take a test and receive a grade of “C”, which he may consider par for the course because that is the mark he usually receives on tests. The phrase par for the course is taken from the sport of golf. Par, in golf parlance, means the amount of strokes that a good player is expected to expend on a hole on the golf course. The idiom par for the course came into general used around 1950 and has climbed in popularity ever since.


The tussle over the seven-year budget is almost a tradition in the EU, with long meetings par for the course. (The Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Over the top looks are par for the course, but one no one saw coming was a wearable model of Kardashian’s famous behind. (Forbes Magazine)

Par for the course this season for UL, though, Wilson later discovered he was battling through a knee injury worse than expected the final eight minutes of that game. (The Advocate)

It was par for the course in the celebrity-driven frenzy that Beck said he endured for 41 years in his rise to the top of the Los Angeles Police Department. (The Chicago Sun Times)