phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Kick into touch

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on July 26, 2007

In Reply to: Kick into touch posted by Scarlet on July 26, 2007

: What does kick into touch mean? Where does the phrase root from?

It's a footballing phrase. If the ball goes over the "touchline" which marks the edge of the pitch, the ball is said to be "in touch" and is considered "dead". Play stops and must be started again by one of the players throwing the ball on to the pitch. I think this holds good, more or less, for soccer, both codes of rugby, and American football. Aussie rules too, for all I know. THe OED gives the first use of "touchline" as 1868, at which time the various codes of football were still evolving from a common point of origin.

In figurative use, to kick something (e.g. a plan or project) into touch is to halt it, just as kicking a ball into touch stops play. (VSD)