Word Origin See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com . Pool a black ball bearing the number eight. a game in which one player or side must pocket all of either the solid-color balls or the striped ones before being permitted to attempt the pocketing of the eightball, which wins. . Slang an inept person. behind the eightball, . Informal in a difficult, disadvantageous, or uncomfortable situation: He hasn't studied all term, and now he's behind the eightball. Origin of eightball
An Americanism dating back to
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
behind the eight ball in Culture
A term, referring to the game of pool, meaning in an unfavorable or uncomfortable position: “After his unkind remarks were repeated to the boss, Gary really ended up behind the eight ball.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Idioms and Phrases with behind the eight ball behind the eight ball
In trouble or an awkward position, out of luck, as in
His check bounced, leaving Jim behind the eight ball with his landlord. The term comes from pocket billiards or pool, where in certain games if the number eight ball is between the “cue ball” and “object ball” the player cannot make a straight shot. [ Colloquial; c. 1920]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
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