When a player is trying to score in Association Football (Soccer in American English) and kicks the ball with too much power and with misdirection, so that it completely misses the goal (typically by going too high), is there an idiomatic word in British English to express that?

  • I've heard 'punt', though I'm not sure it's what you're looking for. Oct 2, 2020 at 18:55
  • 1
    That's only in rugby or American football, no?
    – Adam
    Oct 2, 2020 at 19:02
  • Maybe. I don't know about sports. Oct 2, 2020 at 19:03
  • Sure, something like this, yeah
    – Adam
    Oct 2, 2020 at 19:31
  • 2
    'Clearance' is kicking the ball away from the goalmouth to avoid a goal being scored. Kicking the ball away from the goalmouth in an attempt to score would be 'ignorance'.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 2, 2020 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


To sky the ball:

when the player has hit the ball too hard and it has gone over the bar - not just over the bar but a long way over the bar.


  • Sweeeet! That's exactly what I'm looking for!
    – Adam
    Oct 2, 2020 at 19:39
  • 1
    @SAdam That's a really good answer but only applies to shots that are too high. You seemed also to be interested in shots that went wide but not high, "skying' the ball would not apply to that.
    – BoldBen
    Oct 2, 2020 at 21:57
  • @BoldBen - That’s true. Do you happen to have a more general word that applies to all situations?
    – Adam
    Oct 2, 2020 at 21:59
  • With all due respect, I got there first.
    – David
    Oct 3, 2020 at 10:35
  • 1
    It is not always necessary to provide a source, and it is especially difficult for the contemporary spoken word. My own impression is that “sky” and “skyer” are both somewhat old-fashioned — rather “Roy of the Rovers”.
    – David
    Oct 3, 2020 at 13:06

Although there are adjectives like “skyer” and simple phrases like “well wide” or “well over the bar”, a British football description more on the lines of what is requested is:

That one landed in row Z

The seating rows are numbered from A, at the bottom, so row Z is much too high.

or, if the ball wasn’t so high, a commentator would often say:

The ball was always rising

As regards the supplementary question/comment for an expression that is not specific to being too high or too wide:

The shot was well off target

is used, although not particularly idiomatic. A more colourful expression, would be:

That one scared the pigeons

although at Brighton, Blackpool or Bournmouth, it would be transformed to something like:

That one scattered the seagulls

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.