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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Roman Catholic Church A prayer based on the greetings of Gabriel and Saint Elizabeth to the Virgin Mary. Also called Ave Maria.
  • n. Football A long pass thrown in desperation, especially near the end of a game.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A prayer calling for the intercession of the Holy Mother, for Catholics an essential element of the rosary, and with use in certain other denominations.
  • n. A long forward pass with little chance of completion, typically used when time is running out and no other play is practical.
  • n. An act done in desperation, with only a very small chance of success.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • interj. a form of prayer made use of in the Roman Catholic Church in invocation of the Virgin. See Ave Maria.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a salutation to the Virgin Mary now used in prayers to her


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Sometimes you can play out a losing hand by the book, or you can bet the bank on a Hail Mary, which is what this sounds like.

    "Defense invokes 'Crash,' blaming chance encounter for man's death."

  • McCain called a Hail Mary and she caught the pass but is still not in the end zone.

    The talk about Sarah Palin

  • Let me see if I've got this straight - people probing into a Vice-Presidential candidate's background is "sexist," but John McCain calling his Hail Mary running pick a "soul mate" isn't?

    My Name is SG and I Approve This Message

  • This play is called a Hail Mary because it is, essentially, a prayer.


  • That doesn ` t mean they can ` t call a Hail Mary and save the day.

    CNN Transcript Sep 7, 2007

  • At the end of the football game, a team sometimes throws a desperation pass -- and I know this because I ` m not a sports fan -- called a Hail Mary and tries to win the game.

    CNN Transcript Aug 20, 2007

  • Or in football, you just call a Hail Mary play and burned Red China for 50 yards Hu's humiliation, you are in red zone, you take a QB kneel, what's next, QB scrumble or FB rush?

    US-Chen Stopover spat: Because of NUC?

  • He calls a Hail Mary pass for Pelosi and Reid on a deep post pattern, and the ball comes up short, intercepted by Ahmadinejad on the 5 yard line.

    Knowledge is Power

  • Heck, listen to the words of the traditional Catholic Prayer, the Hail Mary, which is an integral part of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Roman Catholic Blog

  • His first poster was for a band called Hail Mary, a hardcore punk outfit from New York.

    Austin360 - XL Headlines


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