move the goalposts

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move the goalposts

To alter the rules or parameters of a situation in such a way as to suit one's needs or objectives, making it more difficult for someone else to succeed, keep pace, or achieve an opposing objective. I hate arguing with that type of person. As soon as you start wearing down their logic, they just move the goalposts on the whole thing! We're never going to get the book design finished in time if the publisher keeps moving the goalposts every couple of months like this! Claiming victory after cutting the tax by a small fraction when in fact you had said you'd abolish it altogether is really moving the goalposts, isn't it?
See also: move

move the goalposts

If someone moves the goalposts, they change the rules or aims in a situation or activity, in order to gain an advantage and to make things more difficult for the other people involved. He was always moving the goalposts so that we could never anticipate what he wanted. They seem to move the goalposts every time I meet the required conditions. Note: You can also say that someone shifts the goalposts. The administration is shifting the goalposts and changing its demands.
See also: move

move (or shift) the goalposts

unfairly alter the conditions or rules of a procedure during its course.
1989 Dimensions Many companies have, in recent years, moved the goalposts so that those who used to qualify no longer do so.
See also: move

move the ˈgoalposts

(informal, disapproving, especially British English) change the rules for something, or the conditions under which it is done, so that the situation becomes more difficult for somebody: Our union is angry at the management for moving the goalposts during the pay talks. Every time agreement is reached they put up another obstacle.
See also: move
References in periodicals archive ?
If anyone is using football goalposts of this nature we would ask that they stop or put into place some safety measures to protect players and other members of the public who have access to them.
Contract notice: Installation and management of goalposts adjacent to overhead powerlines (OHPLS).
Half a goalpost lying forlornly on the turf as players, groundsmen, coaches and officials stood staring at it in bewilderment.
Casey Breese, 12, of Caersws, Powys who died in 2011 after a goalpost fell on himCasey Breese, 12, of Caersws, Powys who died in 2011 after a goalpost fell on him The tragedy happened at a recreation field used by Caersws Football Club in July, 2011.
LESS than 24 hours before the official opening of the PS30,000 Graig Park rugby ground at Penygraig an intruder climbed the 41ft-high goalposts and left as proof of his feat a chamberpot perched on top of one of the posts.
The metal goalposts were 20 years old, rusty and had no restraining devices to prevent them from falling over, the inquest heard.
The integration of GoalPost into Knighted's suite of supply chain software solutions will provide a significant advantage as companies look for ways to better manage overall supply chain costs, productivity and service," said Jack Horst, partner at Kurt Salmon.
At least 12 fans were trampled in the rush to escape from under the goalpost with one person reportedly suffering a broken neck.
Recommendations from Friday's Goalpost DAN SHANAHAN Dublin +10 3pts 20-21 Bet365 Tipperary to score fewer than 29.
Casey Breese was playing with pals on a village recreation ground in Caersws, near Newtown in Powys, Wales, when the goalposts collapsed, police said last night.
Goalpost Pictures is a leading Australian film and television drama production company.
Hillary Clinton moved the goalpost again today, signaling that winning
Lawsuits aside, the Jets have made a successful drive and the only thing standing between them and the goalpost is the Public Authorities Control Board, which could prove harder than the last two state approvals for the team.
If the Bank takes Mr Brown's goalpost move at face value and starts ignoring such hefty components in Britain's cost of living it will make a hash of things.
A FOOTBALL-MAD schoolboy was killed when a rusty goalpost fell on him during a kickabout with friends, an inquest heard yesterday.