(one, two, three) strikes against (someone or something)

(one, two, three) strikes against (someone or something)

An allusion to baseball, in which a batter is out from the play if they miss hitting the ball three times ("strike out").
1. One, two, or three aspects of someone or something that keep them or it from being completely successful. And the campus is really ugly, so that's two strikes against this college right off the bat. You should know that investors see your close relationship with Big Oil as a strike against your company. In my mind, the candidate has had three strikes against him ever since he started defending those wild conspiracy theories.
2. One, two, or three mistakes, transgressions, or infractions that someone or something did, especially if all three together will or could lead to failure. He's got two strikes against him for coming into work late. If he does it again, the boss said he'd be fired. A: "I can't believe you don't like Ken anymore." B: "Well, he did blow me off for our first date—that's one major strike against him." Claire still doesn't have that report finished? All right, that's three strikes against her—Holly is going to take over from now on.
See also: strike
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*two strikes against

 one
1. two strikes on a baseball batter, three being the number that will put the batter "out." (Such a player is in a vulnerable position. *Typically: get ~; have ~.) Sammy has two strikes against him and might just strike out.
2. Fig. a critical number of things against one; a position wherein success is unlikely or where the success of the next move is crucial. (Fig. on {2} *Typically: get ~; have ~.) Poor Bob had two strikes against him when he tried to explain where he was last night. I can't win. I've got two strikes against me before I start.
See also: strike, two
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

two strikes against

Strong factors opposing, as in There are two strikes against her possibility of a promotion. This term comes from baseball, where a batter is allowed three strikes at a fairly pitched ball before being called out; thus, a batter with two strikes has but one more chance to hit a fair ball. The figurative use dates from the early 1900s.
See also: strike, two
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

three strikes against someone

mainly AMERICAN
If there are three strikes against someone or something, there are three reasons for them not to be successful. Note: In baseball, a `strike' is a legal pitch or ball which the batter fails to hit. The batter is out after three strikes. The grocery business has three strikes against it: (1) high selection costs;(2) high delivery costs; and (3) low margins. Note: If there are two strikes against someone or something, there are two reasons why it is difficult, but not impossible, for them to be successful, or they have only one more chance of succeeding. The hotel has two strikes against it. One, it's a very ugly concrete building. Second, its unattractive location.
See also: someone, strike, three
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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