move the goalposts

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move the goalposts

To alter the rules or parameters of a situation in such a way as to suit one's needs or objectives, making it more difficult for someone else to succeed, keep pace, or achieve an opposing objective. I hate arguing with that type of person. As soon as you start wearing down their logic, they just move the goalposts on the whole thing! We're never going to get the book design finished in time if the publisher keeps moving the goalposts every couple of months like this! Claiming victory after cutting the tax by a small fraction when in fact you had said you'd abolish it altogether is really moving the goalposts, isn't it?
See also: move

move the goalposts

  (British, American & Australian) also move the goal (American)
to change the rules in a situation in a way that is not fair, usually in order to make it more difficult for someone to achieve something My boss is never satisfied. Whenever I think I've done what he wants, he moves the goalposts.
See also: move