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center field

1. In baseball, the area of the field beyond second base and in the middle of the outfield. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. He hit the ball into center field—and right into the glove of the outfielder.
2. In baseball, the position of a player who occupies and defends the center of the field. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. My goal is to be fast enough to play center field next year.
3. A position between extremes or in line with what is generally accepted or understood. Often used with "left of" or "right of" (usually referring to political ideology) to indicate a more biased position. The president has been accused by both political parties of wanting to stay in center field on the issue of tax reform. Once I heard John's liberal ideas, I knew his beliefs were left of center field.
See also: center, field

center of attraction

A person, place, or thing that attracts the most attention among others. There were many movie stars at the premiere, but the leading lady was the center of attraction. Temple Bar is definitely the center of attraction in Dublin.
See also: attraction, center, of

be center stage

To be the main focus. I'm not talking about my promotion today because my sister's engagement should be center stage. Her photos will be center stage at the exhibit.
See also: center, stage

center around (someone or something)

To focus on someone or something. But it's Beth's surprise party, not yours, so all the decorations and games should center around her and her alone. This novel centers around the protagonist's journey to self-discovery.
See also: around, center

the center of attention

The main focus of people's interest or attention. This phrase sometimes has a negative connotation when it refers to one who pursues or seems to crave attention. My little sister always has to be the center of attention, so of course her drama overshadowed my birthday party. And in this corner of the room, a gorgeous, three-tiered cake will be the center of attention.
See also: attention, center, of

center on (someone or something)

1. To focus on someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "center" and "on." But it's Beth's surprise party, not yours, so all the decorations and games should center on her and her alone. This novel centers on the protagonist's journey to self-discovery.
2. To position something in the center of a space, usually a wall. A noun or pronoun can be used between "center" and "on." That picture just isn't centered on the wall—tilt it a little more to the left.
See also: center, on

dead center

Exactly in the middle of something. If you're going to hang that painting, make sure you put it dead center—otherwise, it will just look weird. I want you dead center in this picture, so move a little to the left.
See also: center, dead

left, right, and center

In many different places or to many different people all at once. Primarily heard in US. Ever since the company started we've had financial issues left, right, and center. The economy has been devastating people left, right, and center in this country.
See also: and, center

left, right, and centre

In many different places or to many different people all at once. Primarily heard in UK. Ever since the company started we've had financial issues left, right, and centre. The economy has been devastating people left, right, and centre in this country.
See also: and, centre

take center stage

To be the main focus. I'm not talking about my promotion today because my sister's engagement should take center stage. Her photos took center stage at the exhibit.
See also: center, stage, take

center around someone or something

to make someone or something the central point in something; to be based on someone or something. Your salary increases center around your ability to succeed at your job. The success of the picnic centers around the weather next week.
See also: around, center

center of attention

the focus of people's attention; the thing or person who monopolizes people's attention. She had a way of making herself the center of attention wherever she went.
See also: attention, center, of

center on someone or something

to focus on someone or something in particular. Let us center on the basic problem and try to solve it. I want to center on Liz and her contributions to the firm.
See also: center, on

center something on someone or something

to base something on someone or something. Let us center the discussion on Walter. Our whole meeting was centered on the conservation question.
See also: center, on

dead center

at the exact center of something. The arrow hit the target dead center. When you put the flowers on the table, put them dead center.
See also: center, dead

off center

not exactly in the center or middle. The arrow hit the target a little off center. The picture hanging over the chair is a little off center.
See also: center, off

on dead center

 
1. Lit. at the exact center of something. The arrow hit the target on dead center. When you put the flowers on the table, put them on dead center.
2. Fig. exactly correct. Mary is quite observant. Her analysis is on dead center. My estimate wasn't on dead center, but it was very close to the final cost.
See also: center, dead, on

center of attraction, the

Something or someone that attracts the most interest or curiosity. For example, The Ferris wheel is always the center of attraction at our carnival, or Jan is the center of attraction wherever she goes. This expression comes from physics, where since about 1770 it has denoted the point to which bodies tend by gravity or the action of centripetal force.
See also: center, of

front and center

In the most prominent position, as in You couldn't miss John-he was front and center in that presentation. This expression alludes to the best and usually most expensive seats in a theater.
See also: and, center, front

left, right, and centre

BRITISH or

left and right

AMERICAN
You use left, right, and centre to show that something is happening or being done a lot. They're expecting the state to pay out money left right and centre. The Postal Service has been losing customers left and right.
See also: and, centre

left, right, and centre (also left and right or right and left)

on all sides.
1996 Loaded She relocated to New York… quickly finding herself heralded left, right and centre as The Face Of The '80s.
See also: and, centre

ˌfront and ˈcenter

(American English) in or into the most important position: This is the first TV channel to put kids front and center.
See also: and, center, front

center around

v.
1. To be primarily concerned with something: The plot of this story centers around the life of a cowboy.
2. To make or do something that is primarily concerned with something else: We centered our discussion around the problem of homelessness.
See also: around, center

center on

v.
1. To be concerned primarily with something: This chapter centers on the childhood of one of the characters.
2. To make or do something that is concerned primarily with something else: We centered our analysis on the best pieces of evidence.
3. To place something at the center of some location: We centered the painting on the wall.
See also: center, on

front and center

In the most prominent position.
See also: and, center, front
References in classic literature ?
It was in this last event that Sing's interest centered, for he was sure that he recognized the voice as that of Bulan, while the first cry for help which he had heard had been in a woman's voice, and Sing knew that its author could be none other than Virginia Maxon.
The wily Simon de Montfort had attempted a little ruse which centered the fighting for a time upon the crest of one of the hills.
Their interest seemed centered upon the strange world from which I had come, my journey to Caspak and my intentions now that I had arrived.
Representatives of the earth, of humanity, past and present, all centered in them
But the interest of the Romans in the island was centered on other things than writing, and the great bulk of the Britons themselves seem to have been only superficially affected by the Roman supremacy.
He felt that all his forces, hitherto dissipated, wasted, were centered on one thing, and bent with fearful energy on one blissful goal.