Also called Hail Mary pass, Hail Mary play. a long forward pass in football, especially as a last-ditch attempt at the end of a game, where completion is considered unlikely.
Origin of Hail Mary
1300–50; Middle English, translation of Medieval Latin Ave Maria
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British Dictionary definitions for hail mary
Also called: Ave Maria RC Church a prayer to the Virgin Mary, based on the salutations of the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:28) and Elizabeth (Luke 1:42) to her
American football slang a very long high pass into the end zone, made in the final seconds of a half or of a game
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012