The English We Speak
Episode 190211 / 11 Feb 2019
Rob's favourite football team has beaten a much bigger and more successful one. There's an English expression to describe this situation, which gets Feifei a bit worried. Watch this programme to find out what it is and how to use it to describe sporting success.
This is The English We Speak. I'm Feifei.
And hello, I’m Rob. Hey, Feifei. Did you see the match last night?
The match? No, Rob. I had better things to do!
Oh, you should have done. My local team beat Manchester United 3-0! It was a giant-killing!
Well I'm glad I didn't watch it – who wants to see giants being killed?
Feifei, nobody was killed and there were no real giants. The giant is the team that is usually stronger, more powerful or skilful than the other team – and the killing happens when the weaker or less skilful team beats them. And that's what happened last night. It was brilliant!
I see. So a giant-killing describes a situation when a weaker or less skilful person or team beats a stronger or more skilful opponent.
Yep. And we call the winning team 'giant killers' – so my team can be called 'giant killers'!
So is this phrase used for sporting competitions?
Yes it is. It's not just used in football – although the giant-killing in the game last night was amazing! I mean, did I mention the score was 3-0?
OK calm down, Rob. Let's hear some other examples of the phrase 'giant-killing'…
We're celebrating our village cricket team's giant-killing over a professional county team!
There was a giant-killing at the tennis match today – a brand new player beat the third- seeded player in straight sets!
The non-league team have become giant killers in the FA Cup – they could go all the way to the final.
This is The English We Speak from BBC Learning English and we're hearing about the sporting expression 'giant-killing' – that's when a strong or skilful player or team is beaten by a less strong opponent. The winners are called 'giant killers'. So a giant-killing is quite an achievement?
It sure is. It's unexpected but it's great when it happens.
I understand, Rob – it comes as a surprise because you're so used to losing!
Never mind, Feifei. If you're not a football fan, you'll never understand.
Hmm, I suppose this programme is a bit like a giant killing.
Why's that then?
The weaker, less skilful presenter beats the stronger, more skilful presenter by getting more lines to stay in the script.
Errr, I don't think so, Feifei. You always have more to say.
That's true. Now, isn't it your turn to make the tea?
OK, if you say so. See you later.
Ha! 1-0 to me. Bye.
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