AskDefine | Define goalpost

Dictionary Definition

goalpost n : one of a pair of posts (usually joined by a crossbar) that are set up as a goal at each end of a playing field

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. In American football, the tall Y-shaped upright, now usually of fiberglass, at either end of the playing field, through which a football must go in order to score a field goal. Originally, they were H-shaped, with two wooden posts on either side.
  2. One of the two side poles of the goal.

Extensive Definition

On the sporting field, goalposts are posts between which players must carry, kick or pass a ball or similar object in order to score points, or simply a goal. In many games, at each end of the field of play, there are two vertical posts (or uprights) supporting a horizontal crossbar. In some games, such as Association Football or Hockey, the object is to pass the ball between the posts below the crossbar, while in others, such as those based on Rugby, the ball must pass over the crossbar instead. In Gaelic football and Hurling, in which the goalposts are similar to those used in rugby, the ball can be kicked either under the crossbar for a goal, or over the crossbar through the posts for a point. There are other variants too. In Australian Rules Football, there is no crossbar but 4 uprights instead. In Netball, a single post at each end of the court supports a horizontal hoop that the ball must fall through. While in Basketball, where the hoop and associated backboard was originally supported on a post, the posts themselves have been done away with in most cases, and the hoop and backboard now are suspended over the court from a stadium wall or ceiling.The first ever full size adult goalposts for soccer were Made in Sheffield and the first ever Mini Soccer goals were also made in Sheffield by ITSA GOAL.
In business, the concept is more abstract, with some performance measure or target being set as a goalpost while achieving the target is often known as achieving a goal.
The expression "moving the goalposts", which means to make a set of goals more difficult just as they are being met, is often used in business but is derived from American football. It is commonly used to imply bad faith on the part of those setting goals for others to meet, by arbitrarily making additional demands just as the initial ones are about to be met.
In American football, especially at the collegiate level, fans flooding onto the field and tearing down the goalpoasts after an upset victory by the home team is a widely practiced - if dangerous - means of celebrating.

See also

goalpost in Polish: Goalpost
goalpost in Turkish: kale (spor)
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