Also found in: Dictionary, Medical, Wikipedia.
1. In basketball, a strategy 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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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]
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.
a full-court pressAMERICAN
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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
full-court press, a
A vigorous attack. This expression comes from a basketball tactic in which the defense exerts pressure on their opponents along the full length of the court, trying to interfere with their dribbling and passing in order to get back the ball. It began to be used figuratively in the late 1970s, particularly in politics. During the Persian Gulf War the (George H. W.) Bush administration used it to signify a major offensive.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer