to move the goalposts

Idiom Definition

"to move the goalposts"

to unfairly change the goal or target of a plan or process such that the process becomes unfair or much more difficult for the participants to achieve the goal or target

Idiom Definition - to move the goalposts


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - to move the goalposts

Two colleagues are talking at their offices ...

Ted: Did you finish that proposal for the boss?

Dan: I did. I gave it to the boss and he told me that he had changed the criteria. Now I have to go back and start all over again.

Ted: Wow! It sure makes it difficult to get the job done when someone keeps moving the goalposts.

Dan: Almost impossible and very frustrating.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - to move the goalposts

A couple that has been seeing each other for ten years are talking ...

Susan: No! I won't marry you.

Stewart: Why? First you said that if I got a good career, you would marry me. Then you said that if I got a good job, you would marry me. After that you said if I got a nice car, you would marry me. What do you want now?

Susan: Well, we're going to need a place to live. I'll marry you when you get a house.

Stewart: How will I ever be able to marry you? You keep moving the goalposts.

to move the goalposts - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   329   click for frequency by country

to move the goalposts - Gerund Form:

Moving the goalposts can be frustrating for the person who gets the short end of the stick.

to move the goalposts - Examples:

1)  Putting these figures out there has helped Stephen Conroy move the goalposts, reposition the debate, change the terms of engagement.

2)  And then you move the goalposts further by trying to argue that you were speaking out against religious intolerance all along.

3)  You will see Dion calmly debate, while Harper tries to move the goalposts and change the channel.

4)  I decided to move the goalposts and head for a total loss of 7st 10lbs

5)  You are free to move the goalposts around all over the place if you really want to.

6)  They just move the goalposts, and soon they'll be arguing in the face of direct evidence.

7)  She said the court continues to move the goalposts for governments trying to deport dangerous foreign nationals.

8)  So it's not about affordability, so then they try to move the goalposts and say it's about being untenable

9)  Every time you move the goalposts, you are accepting a different level of what is acceptable.

10)  I'm sure those enamoured of wind farms will move the goalposts for the umpteenth time

11)  I called Vodafone to ask why they think it is acceptable to move the goalposts after I have agreed how much my monthly payments are.

12)  That creates endless opportunities I think to confuse, to move the goalposts and to procrastinate.

13)  DCC: advise on whether funders are going to move the goalposts, and how realistic the risks are of this happening.

14) If Labour try to change it they will rightfully be seen as trying to move the goalposts because they are behind in the polls. 

15)  I fully expected the SNP to move the goalposts as soon as they achieved an overall majority in Parliament.

16)  Not that I see any need to answer a silly attempt to move the goalposts, but there are 8 billion euro worth of tax loopholes and avoidance going on.

17)  They will continue to move the goalposts as they seem fit.

18)  As for Meego and Maemo, all they did was move the goalposts further and further with that crazy Intel collaboration. 

19) Will Israel also accept it or try to move the goalposts

20)  The best Congress will be able to do is to move the goalposts and leave any solution to the next Congress and administration.