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From your personal experience, is "par for the course" widely understood, or would you recommend using a less technical term?

I am particularly interested in differences between American, British, and Australian English.

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It doesn't seem to me that "par for the course" is a technical term; I would call technical term an expression like "par for the exhange". –  kiamlaluno Aug 18 '10 at 16:51
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In what context do you want to use the phrase? The question is just impossible to answer without any context. –  delete Aug 23 '10 at 1:58

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Golf is played worldwide, so I would expect that the phrase -- even if not idiomatic in the local dialect -- would be readily understood by most.

However, I can only speak with certainty for the U.S., where this is definitely a common expression.

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I learned the meaning of par only when I played Wii golf :) –  b.roth Aug 23 '10 at 15:13
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@Bruno - I don't think everyone necessarily understands what the word "par" is but they should still understand the idiom "par for the course". –  Sobachatina Aug 23 '10 at 18:35

Since the words "sub-par" and "on par" are fairly common, I think people could figure out what "par for the course" means.

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Since it's a golf term, shouldn't "sub-par" be good? –  Dan Aug 23 '10 at 0:27
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It certainly should be! But it isn't. :) –  andyvn22 Aug 23 '10 at 1:28

Even people who don't understand that the idiom originated in Golf have heard the phrase frequently and understand its meaning. As children learning our native language, we learn idioms long before we learn their source. Many people never do learn (or care about) the source of the phases they use daily.

In fact, I'd say that's par for the course. If you don't understand that, I suppose I could take another tack.

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For example, "take another tack" is a sailing term yet people understand it readily. –  mmyers Aug 23 '10 at 15:43
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@mmyers - I once worked with a clue-less landlubber who insisted on saying "take another tact", and who would not be corrected, not matter how tactful a tack I took. –  mickeyf Sep 13 '10 at 2:18
    
@mickeyf - that's part of the course –  James McLeod Mar 8 '12 at 23:35

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