an own goal

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an own goal

1. In sports, a goal that a player accidentally scores for the opposing team. I can't believe we lost the championship because of an own goal. I was trying to get the puck out of our zone, but I scored an own goal—how mortifying!
2. An action pursued because it seems beneficial but that ultimately has a detrimental effect. Sheila's speech was supposed to win her more supporters, but it became an own goal once she started ranting off-topic. The law seemed promising, but it has generated such strong opposition that it's become an own goal for the president.
See also: goal, own

an own goal

  (British)
something that someone does to try to get an advantage, but which makes a situation worse for them
Usage notes: In sport, an own goal is when someone scores a point for the opposite team by mistake.
The publishing industry believes that new regulations on recycling paper will be an environmental own goal. The government has scored an own goal with its harsh treatment of single parents.
See also: goal, own