behind the eight ball

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behind the eight ball

In a challenging situation; at a disadvantage. An "eight ball" is one of the numbered balls used in the game of pool, and the last one supposed to be hit into a pocket. If the eight ball is accidentally hit into a pocket prematurely, the player will lose, and it therefore needs to be avoided. If we don't leave early tomorrow, we'll be behind the eight ball, and I doubt we'll reach the cabin by dusk. Because I got the flu, I'm behind the eight ball with my Christmas shopping.
See also: ball, behind, eight

*behind the eight ball

 
1. Fig. in trouble; in a weak or losing position. (Alludes to the eight ball in pool, which in certain games cannot be touched without penalty. *Typically: be ~; get ~; have someone ~; put someone ~.) I'm behind the eight ball again and can't see how to relieve my dilemma. John is behind the eight ball because he started writing his term paper far too late.
2. Fig. broke. Sorry, I'm really behind the eight ball this month. I can't make a contribution. (*Typically: be ~; get ~; have someone ~; put someone ~.) I was behind the eight ball again and couldn't make my car payment.
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the eight ball

In trouble or an awkward position, out of luck, as in His check bounced, leaving Jim behind the eight ball with his landlord. The term comes from pocket billiards or pool, where in certain games if the number eight ball is between the "cue ball" and "object ball" the player cannot make a straight shot. [Colloquial; c. 1920]
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the eight ball

AMERICAN
If someone or something is behind the eight ball, they are in trouble or in a difficult situation. If a child doesn't get the basics in primary school, they are way behind the eight ball. Note: In the game of pool, the `eight ball' is a ball with a number 8 on it, which players have to pot (= put in the net) last. If the eight ball is between the cue ball (= white ball that you hit) and the ball which the player is trying to hit, the player is likely to hit the eight ball first, which is a foul shot.
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the eight ball

at a disadvantage; baffled. North American
The black ball is numbered eight in a variety of the game of pool known as eight-ball pool .
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the ˈeight ball

(American English) in a difficult situation, with many risks and disadvantages: Basically, I made mistakes and put us right behind the eight ball.
In the game of pool, if you hit the eight ball (= the black ball) into one of the holes at the wrong time, you lose the game. If your ball is behind the eight ball, the risks of doing this are greater.
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the eight ball

1. mod. in trouble; in a weak or losing position. I’m behind the eight ball again.
2. mod. broke. I was behind the eight ball again and couldn’t make my car payment.
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the eight ball

Slang
In an unfavorable or uncomfortable position.
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the eight ball

In a bad situation, bad luck. The term, originating in the United States in the first half of the 1900s, comes from a form of pool in which all the balls (which are numbered) must be pocketed in a certain order. The only exception is the No. 8 ball, which is black. If another player touches the eight ball he or she is penalized. Therefore, if the eight ball is in front of the ball one is trying to pocket, one is in a difficult position.
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the eight ball

In a precarious situation. In certain games of pool or billiards, a player whose cue ball (the ball that strikes the other balls) is behind the 8 ball is unlikely to make any shot. Therefore, to be behind the eight ball is to be in a losing situation.
See also: ball, behind, eight
References in periodicals archive ?
That put the Saints behind the 8-ball the rest of the contest, though they were able to cut the deficit to 4 three times in the second half until the Titans added another 8 unanswered goals before Wiltrout and Kiefer would add their tallies late.
"Mentally you can be as good as you like but if you don't hit it 330 yards you're going to be a long way behind the 8-ball.
There was also a narrow defeat for Bootle at the hands of New Brighton, for whom skipper Andy Clarke smashed a counterattacking 83 in a total of 190; once an early burst from Louis Boles and Mark Hale had reduced the visitors to 49/4, they were always behind the 8-ball, and despite Will Purser's 56 and some help from the lower order, they fell short by 12 runs.
I felt we played well enough for 40 minutes on Saturday but in the third period we were punished for being an experienced team and we let a couple of soft goals in and put ourselves behind the 8-ball a little.
"For various reasons, many are not exposed to the same number of words as children from upper class homes, so they are behind the 8-ball when they start school."
Through research, we know bucks coming out of winter behind the 8-ball take more time to rebuild and repair their bodies, ultimately delaying antler growth and resulting in smaller headgear in the fall.
''We're behind the 8-ball, and we put ourselves there,'' Jets linebacker Calvin Pace said.
Rick Hind, legislative director of Greenpeace in Washington, said that Texas "is certainly notorious for being behind the 8-ball in protecting the public health on industrial pollution and catastrophic risks like this."
"You are always at a disadvantage in the sense that not too many people have a 6-6 girl to go up against Mercedes, so you have to commit one- and-a-half or two bodies and then numbers wise, you are always behind the 8-ball," Ervin said.
They are not entirely behind the 8-ball, but it would be a lie to say it's all smooth-sailing out of the gate.
Joel started the day somewhat behind the 8-ball because he typically fishes the ocean armed with a GPS and fishfinder in his kayak but on this day a malfunction prevented that scenario.
We consider it bad luck to be behind the 8-ball instead of the 7-ball.
I'm behind the 8-ball right now and want to be in Nick Faldo's team come September."
"We were really behind the 8-ball from the start." The US players were slow by comparison with their Czech counterparts and the type of fire usually shown by Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Brian McBride and Bobby Convey was strangely absent.
It all makes her feel, she says, "Like I'm behind the 8-ball."