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Football Glossary: To go pear-shaped

(to go) Pear shaped

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This week’s English for football is to go pear-shaped. When a plan goes wrong, is not successful, and it results in a disaster you can use the phrase ‘go pear-shaped’. Now, a pear is not a perfect circle. So using the phrase pear-shaped is to show that the result of a plan was not perfect. Many people believe this meaning that a plan that does not succeed is from World War Two when British pilots would use the phrase to describe a pilot trying, and failing, to do a loop in his plane. Instead making a shape like a pear, failing to do a perfect circle.

For example, in football, we could say that Chelsea’s plans to win the league have gone pear-shaped after Mourinho was sacked and many players have become unhappy. Or, Tottenham’s hopes of finishing in the top four have gone pear-shaped since their terrible start to the season. Pear-shaped.

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