run the clock out

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run the clock out

1. In sports, to protect a lead by using up as much possible time that remains in a game or match without giving the opposing team a chance to score, generally by maintaining a passive or defensive strategy. With just a narrow two-point lead, the home team has started to run the clock out to hold on for a win. It seems like a risky strategy, Jim. There's a lot of game time left for them to start running the clock out already.
2. By extension, to protect an advantage by using up as much possible time that remains in a particular situation. They know they have the votes to get their client off without punishment, so I bet they just run the clock out rather than present a real defense. Shouldn't you wake Mom up? Oh, you sneak—you're trying to run the clock out so that she sleeps through your practice and you don't have to go.
See also: clock, out, run
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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