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full-court press

1. A strategy in basketball in which the defensive team applies pressure on the offensive team across the entire court. We were down by 15, so we ran a full-court press and started to create some turnovers.
2. By extension, an aggressive or increased effort to win or accomplish something. Congress pulled out a full-court press in an effort to get the bill passed.
See also: press

out of court

Before trial or without litigation. The phrase is used to describe decisions, especially settlements, that are resolved before a case goes to trial. I have no desire to draw this out in a long trial, so let's offer to settle out of court.
See also: court, of, out

kangaroo court

An unofficial court or a court that disregards current laws and conducts unfair trials. People who live under oppressive regimes are often treated harshly by corrupt kangaroo courts that don't abide by the law.
See also: court, kangaroo

appear in court

To participate in legal proceedings. My lawyer and I have to appear in court today.
See also: appear, court

get (one's) day in court

To have the opportunity to voice one's complaints or explain one's actions. This phrase does not have to refer to an actual court appearance. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. You'll get your day in court, but for now, let your sister tell her side of the story. I'm glad I'm finally getting my day in court and can refute those slanderous claims.
See also: court, get

hold court

To be surrounded by a lot of people, typically supporters, admirers, or subordinates, and have their full attention. My father was considered one of the leaders in his small town, and he would often hold court with people from the community in our kitchen. The manager makes a point of holding court in the board room once a week to make sure everyone is on the same page.
See also: court, hold

the ball is in (one's) court

One needs to take some action to keep something going. The phrase originated in tennis. Well, they invited you, so the ball is in your court now. Do you want to go out with them or not?
See also: ball, court

have (one's) day in court

To have the opportunity to voice one's complaints or explain one's actions. This phrase does not have to refer to an actual court appearance. You'll have your day in court, but for now, let your sister tell her side of the story. I'm glad I'm finally able to have my day in court and can refute those slanderous claims.
See also: court, have

appear in court

to go to a court of law as a participant. She has to appear in court tomorrow. I have to appear in court for my traffic violation.
See also: appear, court

the ball is in someone's court

Fig. to be someone else's move, play, or turn. (From tennis.) The ball's in your court now. You do something. I can't do anything as long as the ball is in John's court.
See also: ball, court

have the ball in one's court

 
1. Lit. to have a ball belonging to a game played on a court on one's side of the court. You have the ball in your court, so hit it back to me!
2. . Fig. to be responsible for the next move in some process; to have to make a response to something that someone else has started. You have the ball in your court now. You have to answer the attorney's questions. There was no way that Liz could avoid responding. She had the ball in her court.
See also: ball, court, have

kangaroo court

a bogus or illegal court. Is this a staff meeting or a kangaroo court? You have turned this interview into a kangaroo court.
See also: court, kangaroo

laugh something out of court

to dismiss something presented in earnest as ridiculous. The committee laughed the suggestion out of court. Bob's request for a large salary increase was laughed out of court.
See also: court, laugh, of, out

pay court to someone

Fig. to solicit someone's attention; to woo someone. The lawyer was thought to be paying court to too many politicians. The lobbyist paid court to all the influential members of Congress.
See also: court, pay

stand up in court

[for a case] to survive a test in a court of law. Do you think that this case will stand up in court? These charges will never stand up in court. They are too vague.
See also: court, stand, up

take someone to court

to sue someone; to force someone to appear in court. I will take you to court if you persist in pestering my client. Don was taken to court in a negligence suit.
See also: court, take

ball's in your court, the

It's your responsibility now; it's up to you. For example, I've done all I can; now the ball's in your court. This term comes from tennis, where it means it is the opponent's turn to serve or return the ball, and has been transferred to other activities. [Second half of 1900s]

day in court, have one's

Have an opportunity to be heard, as in By asking Rob for an explanation the professor showed he was willing to let him have his day in court . This expression transfers the idea of a hearing in a court of law to more general use.
See also: have

friend in court

Also, friends in high places. A person or persons who can help by virtue of their important position. For example, With a friend in court, he has a good chance of getting the contract, or Jim thinks he can get out of paying the fine; he has friends in high places. This expression alludes to the power of a person at the royal court. With the decline of monarchies, high places came into more common use. [c. 1400]
See also: court, friend

full-court press

An all-out effort to exert pressure. For example, She'd learned over the years how to deliver a full-court press of guilt. The term alludes to a basketball tactic in which the defenders put pressure on the opposing team over the entire court, trying to disrupt their dribbling and passing. [Late 1900s]
See also: press

hold court

Be surrounded by and command the attention of admirers, subordinates, or hangers-on. For example, After a match Judy generally held court in the locker room. This expression alludes to royalty convening courtiers as well as a judge convening a court of law.
See also: court, hold

kangaroo court

A self-appointed tribunal that violates established legal procedure; also, a dishonest or incompetent court of law. For example, The rebels set up a kangaroo court and condemned the prisoners to summary execution, or That judge runs a kangaroo court-he tells rape victims they should have been more careful . This expression is thought to liken the jumping ability of kangaroos to a court that jumps to conclusions on an invalid basis. [Mid-1800s]
See also: court, kangaroo

laugh out of court

Dismiss with ridicule or scorn, as in When he told them the old car could be repaired, they laughed him out of court. This expression, which originally referred to a case so laughable or trivial that a court of law would dismiss it, originated in ancient Roman times but has been used in English, without its former legal significance, since the late 1800s.
See also: court, laugh, of, out

pay court to

Solicit the favors or affection of, as in If you want to win the daughter, you'll have to pay court to her mother. [Late 1500s]
See also: court, pay

the ball is in your court

COMMON If the ball is in your court, it is your responsibility to decide what to do next in a particular situation. We've made him an offer but now he has to decide whether to accept: the ball is in his court. Note: This expression refers to the game of tennis.
See also: ball, court

be laughed out of court

If you or your ideas are laughed out of court, people dismiss your ideas and do not take you seriously. Only two decades ago the idea of an Equal Opportunities Commission championing the rights of women would have been laughed out of court. Back in May 2002, this proposal was laughed out of court. Note: A plaintiff (= person who brings a legal case against someone else) who is `out of court' has lost the right to be heard in a court of law.
See also: court, laugh, of, out

be ruled out of court

mainly BRITISH
If something that you want to do is ruled out of court, circumstances make it impossible for you to do it. It was hoping to start medical training that year but then I had the accident and it was ruled out of court.
See also: court, of, out, rule

hold court

COMMON If you hold court, you are surrounded by people who listen to what you say because they consider you interesting or important. Ray, as ever, was holding court at the end of the table. She used to hold court in the college canteen, surrounded by a crowd of admirers. Note: This expression is often used to suggest that the person holding court is rather self-important and does not deserve this attention and admiration. Note: `Court' in this expression refers to the court of a king or queen.
See also: court, hold

pay court to someone

If you pay court to someone, you try to win their affection or approval. He loved the idea of giving interviews and people paying court to him. He pays court to me, buys me flowers and takes me to dinner.
See also: court, pay

someone's day in court

Someone's day in court is the time when they have the opportunity to give their evidence about something, usually in a court of law. We are looking forward to our day in court, when the mountains of evidence we have collected will be displayed to the jury. He will have his day in court, we hope, and then all of us will know what really happened.
See also: court

a kangaroo court

A kangaroo court is a court that is created quickly and is not official, and often not fair. All kinds of strange people appeared to testify in the kangaroo court which the newspapers had set up. I've been shot at, beaten up my military police, and sentenced to life imprisonment by a kangaroo court.
See also: court, kangaroo

a full-court press

AMERICAN
A full-court press is a big effort to achieve something. He praised the full-court press by Canadian officials, which included a personal telephone call from the prime minister. When his daughter became ill, he had to do a full-court press to get her treated. Note: You can say that you put the full-court press on someone if you put a lot of pressure on them to achieve something or give you something. We should put the full-court press on the government to obtain funding for major road projects. Note: In basketball, a full-court press is where the defending players stay close to the attacking players over the whole area of the court, rather than just in front of their own basket.
See also: press

the ball is in someone’s court

phr. to be someone else’s move, play, or turn. I can’t do anything as long as the ball is in John’s court.
See also: ball, court

pay court to

1. To flatter with solicitous overtures in an attempt to obtain something or clear away antagonism.
2. To seek someone's love; woo.
See also: court, pay
References in classic literature ?
It was gall and wormwood to his soul to see that splendid, highly-accomplished woman, once so courted and admired, transformed into an active managing housewife, with hands and head continually occupied with household labours and household economy.
With this idea always uppermost in his mind, he courted the good opinion of the Abyssinians, asked them many questions about their emperor and their country, and evinced a growing desire to reach their destination, that he might enjoy all the good things which they assured him the city of Adis Abeba contained.
He did not fear death--with the memory of his murdered mate still fresh in his mind he almost courted it, yet strong within him was that primal instinct of self-preservation--the battling force of life that would keep him an active contender against the Great Reaper until, fighting to the very last, he should be overcome by a superior power.
No man ever courted a woman by holding a threatened proposal over her head like a club.
Having proposed his Resolution with discreet brevity of speech, Mirabel courted popularity on the plan adopted by the late Lord Palmerston in the House of Commons--he told stories, and made jokes, adapted to the intelligence of the dullest people who were listening to him.
When he first courted me, he had every reason to believe that she was dead.
A MIDDLE-AGED MAN, whose hair had begun to turn gray, courted two women at the same time.