(one, two, three) strikes against (someone or something)

(one, two, three) strikes against (someone or something)

1. One, two, or three aspects of someone or something that keep them or it from being completely successful. The tuition is two high and I think the campus is kind of ugly, so that's two strikes against going to this college.
2. One, two, or three mistakes, transgressions, or infraction that someone or something did, especially if all three together will or could lead to failure. With either meaning, the phrase is an allusion to baseball, in which a batter is out from the play if he misses hitting the ball (strikes) three times. He's got two strikes against him for coming into work late; if he does it again, the boss said he'd be fired.
See also: strike

*two strikes against

1. two strikes on a baseball batter, three being the number that will put the batter "out." (Such a player is in a vulnerable position. *Typically: get ~; have ~.) Sammy has two strikes against him and might just strike out.
2. Fig. a critical number of things against one; a position wherein success is unlikely or where the success of the next move is crucial. (Fig. on {2} *Typically: get ~; have ~.) Poor Bob had two strikes against him when he tried to explain where he was last night. I can't win. I've got two strikes against me before I start.
See also: strike, two

two strikes against

Strong factors opposing, as in There are two strikes against her possibility of a promotion. This term comes from baseball, where a batter is allowed three strikes at a fairly pitched ball before being called out; thus, a batter with two strikes has but one more chance to hit a fair ball. The figurative use dates from the early 1900s.
See also: strike, two

three strikes against someone

If there are three strikes against someone or something, there are three reasons for them not to be successful. Note: In baseball, a `strike' is a legal pitch or ball which the batter fails to hit. The batter is out after three strikes. The grocery business has three strikes against it: (1) high selection costs;(2) high delivery costs; and (3) low margins. Note: If there are two strikes against someone or something, there are two reasons why it is difficult, but not impossible, for them to be successful, or they have only one more chance of succeeding. The hotel has two strikes against it. One, it's a very ugly concrete building. Second, its unattractive location.
See also: someone, strike, three
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