a target on someone's back

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - a target on someone's back

"a target on someone's back"

to be singularly identified as the person to beat, oppose, replace or somehow persecute;

to be singled out as chief rival


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - a target on someone's back

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Isn't it great that the boss has publicly endorsed you for the promotion?

Colleague 2:  I suppose if a person likes to have a target painted on their back.

Colleague 1:  I don't understand.

Colleague 2:  With the boss's announcement, I went from coworker to rival. Now everyone will be looking for ways to slow me down or oppose me or just generally make trouble in order to improve their chances. Before the announcement, we were all in the running for receiving the promotion. Now everyone will focus on me.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - a target on someone's back

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  Summer is over. Are you ready for another season of playing hockey?

Friend 2:  You know I love playing hockey but this year is going to be difficult.

Friend 1:  Why do you say that?

Friend 2:  After winning the Most Valuable Player Trophy last year, I now have a target on my back. Every opposition player is going to be all over me every game. It will make it really difficult to make any plays or get any action going.

a target on someone's back - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   84   click for frequency by country

a target on someone's back - Gerund Form:

There is no gerund form for a target on someone's back.

a target on someone's back - Examples:

1)  ... especially, and his quick ascension up the ranks at EPD put a target on his back.

2)  ... crucified by over 80 per cent of the media. And he has painted a target on his back and marched out into the middle of the Colosseum.

3)  ... in the ring and he says he knew winning the title would put a target on his back

4)  ... the feeling he held for a good part of his career that there was a target on his back which was being fired at from many corners of the industry.

5)  ... could simply be staying at the top of his game while having a target on his back as the defending champ.

6)  ... going through something major at a stage of life when being different can put a target on your back. Laura's mum is right about one thing; teenagers ...

7)  It is another altogether to make oneself the issue. That just puts a target on your back.

8)  Any team that is doing well there is always going to be a target on your back to be the team that beats you.

9)  There's definitely that feeling of having a target on your back, and to prove last year wasn't a fluke.

10)  ... watching me winning the worlds. It is not the easiest thing with a target on your back.

11)  ... the question that we're being asked. Am I actually going to paint a target on my back by looking overly well-prepared?

12)  I've always had a target on my back in Long Drive, I've always been in the spotlight.

13)  There's a target on my back and everyone wants this position, because this is life-changing.

14)  I'll obviously have a target on my back, and it adds to the pressure, especially at home.

15)  I will definitely have a target on my back, but it's pointless to worry about your opponents.

16)  Conway is a brilliant, tough operative. But she now she has a target on her back.

17)  ... a career-high world No. 2 ranking, Kerber knows that she will now have a target on her back.

18)  She's got a target on her back and she's the one everyone is aiming for now.

19)  ... position in the polls and strong performance last time around, she'll have a target on her back.

20)  ... only after Christmas that, for some inexplicable reason, a classmate suddenly drew a target on her back.