three strikes against someone

(one, two, three) strikes against (someone or something)

1. One, two, or three aspects of someone or something that keep them or it from being completely successful. The campus is really ugly, so that's two strikes against this college right off the bat.
2. One, two, or three mistakes, transgressions, or infraction that someone or something did, especially if all three together will or could lead to failure. With either meaning, the phrase is an allusion to baseball, in which a batter is out from the play if they strike (miss hitting the ball) three times. He's got two strikes against him for coming into work late. If he does it again, the boss said he'd be fired.
See also: strike
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

three strikes against someone

mainly AMERICAN
If there are three strikes against someone or something, there are three reasons for them not to be successful. Note: In baseball, a `strike' is a legal pitch or ball which the batter fails to hit. The batter is out after three strikes. The grocery business has three strikes against it: (1) high selection costs;(2) high delivery costs; and (3) low margins. Note: If there are two strikes against someone or something, there are two reasons why it is difficult, but not impossible, for them to be successful, or they have only one more chance of succeeding. The hotel has two strikes against it. One, it's a very ugly concrete building. Second, its unattractive location.
See also: someone, strike, three
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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