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Related to courts: State courts

full-court press

1. A strategy in basketball in which the defensive team applies pressure on the offensive team across the entire court. We were down by 15, so we ran a full-court press and started to create some turnovers.
2. By extension, an aggressive or increased effort to win or accomplish something. Congress pulled out a full-court press in an effort to get the bill passed.
See also: press

out of court

Before trial or without litigation. The phrase is used to describe decisions, especially settlements, that are resolved before a case goes to trial. I have no desire to draw this out in a long trial, so let's offer to settle out of court.
See also: court, of, out

kangaroo court

An unofficial court or a court that disregards current laws and conducts unfair trials. People who live under oppressive regimes are often treated harshly by corrupt kangaroo courts that don't abide by the law.
See also: court, kangaroo

appear in court

To participate in legal proceedings. My lawyer and I have to appear in court today.
See also: appear, court

appear in court

to go to a court of law as a participant. She has to appear in court tomorrow. I have to appear in court for my traffic violation.
See also: appear, court

the ball is in someone's court

Fig. to be someone else's move, play, or turn. (From tennis.) The ball's in your court now. You do something. I can't do anything as long as the ball is in John's court.
See also: ball, court

have the ball in one's court

1. Lit. to have a ball belonging to a game played on a court on one's side of the court. You have the ball in your court, so hit it back to me!
2. . Fig. to be responsible for the next move in some process; to have to make a response to something that someone else has started. You have the ball in your court now. You have to answer the attorney's questions. There was no way that Liz could avoid responding. She had the ball in her court.
See also: ball, court, have

kangaroo court

a bogus or illegal court. Is this a staff meeting or a kangaroo court? You have turned this interview into a kangaroo court.
See also: court, kangaroo

laugh something out of court

to dismiss something presented in earnest as ridiculous. The committee laughed the suggestion out of court. Bob's request for a large salary increase was laughed out of court.
See also: court, laugh, of, out

pay court to someone

Fig. to solicit someone's attention; to woo someone. The lawyer was thought to be paying court to too many politicians. The lobbyist paid court to all the influential members of Congress.
See also: court, pay

stand up in court

[for a case] to survive a test in a court of law. Do you think that this case will stand up in court? These charges will never stand up in court. They are too vague.
See also: court, stand, up

take someone to court

to sue someone; to force someone to appear in court. I will take you to court if you persist in pestering my client. Don was taken to court in a negligence suit.
See also: court, take

the ball is in your court

you need to react or answer We made a reasonable offer for the house, and now the ball is in their court.
Etymology: based on the sports meaning of court (the playing area in games like tennis)
See also: ball, court

hold court

to attract people who want your attention The actress held court with the reporters and photographers who followed her everywhere.
Etymology: based on the idea of a king who holds court (surrounds himself with people of high social rank and people who give advice)
See also: court, hold

have your day in court

to have the opportunity to make a complaint publicly and to have it judged fairly The attorneys said they were pleased that their clients got their day in court.
See also: court, have

the ball is in somebody's court

if the ball is in someone's court, they have to do something before any progress can be made in a situation
Usage notes: In a game of tennis, if the ball is in your court then it is your turn to hit the ball.
I've told him he can have his job back if he apologizes. The ball's in his court now.
See carry the ball, drop the ball, play ball, the whole ball of wax
See also: ball, court

get/have your day in court

  (American & Australian)
to get an opportunity to give your opinion on something or to explain your actions after they have been criticized She was fiercely determined to get her day in court and the TV interview would give it to her.
See also: court, get

a full-court press

a big effort to achieve something The Mayor has urged a full-court press for civil rights and fair housing in the city.
See also: press

hold court

to get a lot of attention from a group of people by talking in a way that is entertaining, especially on social occasions
Usage notes: In the past, a king or queen held court when they talked to the people who gave them advice.
You'll find Mick holding court in the kitchen.
See also: court, hold

a kangaroo court

a court of law which is not official and which judges someone in an unfair way A kangaroo court was set up by the strikers to deal with people who had refused to stop working.
See also: court, kangaroo

laugh something/somebody out of court

to refuse to think seriously about an idea, belief or a possibility (usually passive) At the meeting, her proposal was laughed out of court. Anyone who had made such a ludicrous suggestion would have been laughed out of court
See also: court, laugh, of, out

ball's in your court, the

It's your responsibility now; it's up to you. For example, I've done all I can; now the ball's in your court. This term comes from tennis, where it means it is the opponent's turn to serve or return the ball, and has been transferred to other activities. [Second half of 1900s]

day in court, have one's

Have an opportunity to be heard, as in By asking Rob for an explanation the professor showed he was willing to let him have his day in court . This expression transfers the idea of a hearing in a court of law to more general use.
See also: have

friend in court

Also, friends in high places. A person or persons who can help by virtue of their important position. For example, With a friend in court, he has a good chance of getting the contract, or Jim thinks he can get out of paying the fine; he has friends in high places. This expression alludes to the power of a person at the royal court. With the decline of monarchies, high places came into more common use. [c. 1400]
See also: court, friend

full-court press

An all-out effort to exert pressure. For example, She'd learned over the years how to deliver a full-court press of guilt. The term alludes to a basketball tactic in which the defenders put pressure on the opposing team over the entire court, trying to disrupt their dribbling and passing. [Late 1900s]
See also: press

hold court

Be surrounded by and command the attention of admirers, subordinates, or hangers-on. For example, After a match Judy generally held court in the locker room. This expression alludes to royalty convening courtiers as well as a judge convening a court of law.
See also: court, hold

kangaroo court

A self-appointed tribunal that violates established legal procedure; also, a dishonest or incompetent court of law. For example, The rebels set up a kangaroo court and condemned the prisoners to summary execution, or That judge runs a kangaroo court-he tells rape victims they should have been more careful . This expression is thought to liken the jumping ability of kangaroos to a court that jumps to conclusions on an invalid basis. [Mid-1800s]
See also: court, kangaroo

laugh out of court

Dismiss with ridicule or scorn, as in When he told them the old car could be repaired, they laughed him out of court. This expression, which originally referred to a case so laughable or trivial that a court of law would dismiss it, originated in ancient Roman times but has been used in English, without its former legal significance, since the late 1800s.
See also: court, laugh, of, out

pay court to

Solicit the favors or affection of, as in If you want to win the daughter, you'll have to pay court to her mother. [Late 1500s]
See also: court, pay

the ball is in someone’s court

phr. to be someone else’s move, play, or turn. I can’t do anything as long as the ball is in John’s court.
See also: ball, court

pay court to

1. To flatter with solicitous overtures in an attempt to obtain something or clear away antagonism.
2. To seek someone's love; woo.
See also: court, pay
References in classic literature ?
Early next day the Sultan and Sultana, dressed in robes of state and followed by all the court, set out for the country house of their children.
Would it have been desirable to have composed the court for the trial of impeachments, of persons wholly distinct from the other departments of the government?
The executive chief, with six others, appointed, three by each of the legislative branches constitutes the Supreme Court of Appeals; he is joined with the legislative department in the appointment of the other judges.
Lippet, if you are retained for the prisoner,” interrupted Judge Temple, “instruct your client how to plead; if not, the court will assign him counsel.
After the court attendant had uttered more unintelligible words, every one sat down; and the financier again moved hurriedly to the rail.
The court was all bestrewn with herbs and sprinkled with vinegar, as a precaution against gaol air and gaol fever.
Some time after, asking a friend at court how they came to fix on that determinate number, he told me that his majesty's mathematicians, having taken the height of my body by the help of a quadrant, and finding it to exceed theirs in the proportion of twelve to one, they concluded from the similarity of their bodies, that mine must contain at least 1724 of theirs, and consequently would require as much food as was necessary to support that number of Lilliputians.
This of course, Alice could not stand, and she went round the court and got behind him, and very soon found an opportunity of taking it away.
At this some six duennas, advancing across the court, made their appearance in procession, one after the other, four of them with spectacles, and all with their right hands uplifted, showing four fingers of wrist to make their hands look longer, as is the fashion now-a-days.
Suddenly an idea occurred to me, and acting on my knowledge of the construction of the buildings of these ancient Martian cities with a hollow court within the center of each square, I groped my way blindly through the dark chambers, calling the great thoats after me.
The court was very cool and a little damp, and full of premature twilight, although the sky, high up overhead, was still bright with sunset.
The court of Anne of Austria was full of gayety and animation; for, after having gained a victory over the Spaniard, it had just gained another over the people.
I shall go to court this evening, to a great ball, Madame la Marquise de Dolomien and the Aide de Camp de Service having just notified me that I am invited.
Bartle entered quietly, and, going up to Adam, grasped his hand and said, "I'm just come to look at you, my boy, for the folks are gone out of court for a bit.
A Chancery judge once had the kindness to inform me, as one of a company of some hundred and fifty men and women not labouring under any suspicions of lunacy, that the Court of Chancery, though the shining subject of much popular prejudice (at which point I thought the judge's eye had a cast in my direction), was almost immaculate.