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

move the goalposts

Change the rules in the middle of an enterprise, usually to make it more difficult for someone to succeed. The term originated in sports that use goalposts (soccer, rugby, football) in the second half of the 1900s. It soon was transferred to other enterprises. Jo Bannister had it in Liars All (2009): “. . . if they parted one day, she’d find someone to replace him . . . He didn’t blame her for that. It wasn’t Brodie who’d moved the goalposts.”
See also: move
References in periodicals archive ?
Now because we didn't move the goal post, we really based the calculations on a same basic criteria as we had in 2008.
Amy added: "So, then for her to once again move the goal posts to suit her situation to decide we never friends in the first place because she wanted to get with Curtis, obviously it's not the most ideal thing.
That's why the Liberal Democrats want the Government to move the goal posts on safe standing and change the law to allow it in the Championship and Premiership."
Mark Dayton, Walz promised that he would never "move the goal posts." Former House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, regularly accused Dayton of doing exactly that in the middle of tense negotiations.
Not for the first time in recent history, had a super power opted to exercise its prerogative to move the goal posts.
Earlier this week, Stakosha's father Foto, himself a former Albanian international who was playing for Olympiakos when his son was born, declared that junior was staying put but perhaps this acquisition could move the goal posts?
Once Beijing's goal of supplying 10 percent of its energy mix with gas is met, the government will in all likelihood move the goal posts again, first to 15 percent and then to 20 percent, the report said.
They cannot move the goal posts by selling members a policy with fixed benefits and then changing the rules midway through the life of the policy to reduce those benefits, Ms Court said.
This is a simple exercise to move the goal posts. What should happen is for ambulances to turn up within the guidelines for emergencies.
Not much point having an airmile scheme if you move the goal posts when it suits you.
As the 2015 deadline for the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, world leaders will face a choice: Move the goal posts back another decade or two, or hold accountable those who have failed to deliver on their commitments.
Flame retardants represent an area of research that is constantly in demand as the need for ever safer materials and the changes in legislation and law move the goal posts in terms of chemicals that are allowed, and the effect that removing current chemicals has on the materials in use at the present time.
And then lads' mags have to come along and move the goal posts even further.
The decision to move the goal posts of Ofsted inspection, treating Pupil Referal Units (PRUs) as if they were mainstream schools is tantamount to declaring Special Educational Needs to be an imaginary condition.