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par for the course Informal

Meaning: If something is par for the course, it's what you'd expect it to be.

For example:

  • Bill hasn't paid his rent on time, but that's par for the course. He's always late.

  • I had an appointment to see my doctor at three but I had to wait an hour. I know waiting is par for the course when it comes to doctors, but it still annoys me.

Note: This idiom is most commonly used in reference to something that is typically not very good, rather than something that is typically good. For example, it's more common to say that coming late is par for the course for someone than to say coming on time is par for the course for someone.

Origin: From golf, in which par is the number of shots a good player would be expected to take to complete a hole. If par numbers for all the holes on a course are added up, you find the par for the course.

Quick Quiz:

If people say it's "par for the course" when a train arrives late, it means the train is
  1. usually on time
  2. always on time
  3. often late

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