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on the sidelines

not actively involved in something The majority of Western countries decided to stay on the sidelines during the crisis.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of sidelines (the lines that mark the outer edges of a playing field)
See also: on, sideline

stay on the sidelines

to not be actively involved in something
Usage notes: The sidelines are the lines that mark the edges of a sports field.
The majority of western countries decided to stay on the sidelines during the crisis in the Middle East.
See also: on, sideline, stay

on the sidelines

Observing rather than taking part, out of the action, as in Bolivia's neighbors remained on the sidelines, waiting to see which faction in the dispute would prevail . This idiom comes from sports. The sidelines are the two lines defining the sides of the court or playing field and the area immediately beyond them where, in such sports as football, the non-playing team members sit. [First half of 1900s]
See also: on, sideline
References in periodicals archive ?
Claffey said: "The ball is going to go over the sideline plenty of times in a game and there's nothing you can do to stop it.
d, m a Being close to the sideline you're engaged in the dialogue completely.
Denying the penetration pass to the middle of the press will also help encourage the opposition to advance the ball down the sideline areas where the defense is lying in wait for the advancement of the ball.
Like Cork boss Conor Counihan, Canavan has a preference for watching the first half of games from the stand and initially only had his assistant, Kieran Donnelly, on the sideline during Saturday's win over Roscommon along with the physio and county secretary.
Big Fogg even provided the Misting Fans on the sideline championship game for Joe Kingman (played by the Rock) in the hit movie "The Game Plan".
The "Tight Wing" (TW3) influences anyone with the ball on his side of the court, while the "Wide Wing" (WW2) also allows nothing but ball-handlers down his particular sideline.
John Norwig, Head Trainer of the 2006 Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, stated, "Big Fogg Misting Fans provided essential sideline cooling that enhanced our players' performance during Super Bowl XL in Detroit.
On the play, Cowan faked a handoff before throwing to a covered Pitre along the left sideline.
While the 1-2-1-1 traps the ballhandler on the initial inbounded pass, the 2-2-1 press usually is more passive and waits for the ballhandler to start his dribble down the sideline before trapping him.
Fans don't need tickets to the Men's Division I NCAA Final Four Championship games to get a game-day sideline experience.
Production company Sideline, which is behind Irish formats of Mastermind, Take Me Out and Family Fortunes, completed a deal with CBS to take on the 80s classic.
Collis bought enough time to heave a pass off his back foot down the left sideline to a wide-open Wong, who ran untouched down the sideline for the score.
31 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Football League has decided to provide sideline cooling for the NFL players at Super Bowl XL on Sunday, February 5, 2006.
With one minute remaining it is advisable to throw downfield in the sideline area.
Lisa Guerrero, the new sideline reporter joining John Madden and Al Michaels on ABC's Monday Night Football team, shows off her all-pro looks in the October issue of FHM, on sale nationwide Tuesday, September 9, 2003.