Definition of Hail Mary in English:

Hail Mary

Syllabification: Hail Mar·y

noun (plural Hail Marys)

  • 1A prayer to the Virgin Mary used chiefly by Roman Catholics, beginning with part of Luke 1:28. Also called Ave Maria.
    More example sentences
    • We'd pile into the car at the crack of dawn and my father would say a Hail Mary before we left, to make sure that the Virgin Mary kept an eye on us.
    • And he tightened his hold on her hand as they recited the Lord's Prayer and a Hail Mary.
    • She made a cross on her forehead, said a Hail Mary and an Our Father, asked God to prepare a place for her friend and remove her pain.
  • 1.1A recitation of a Hail Mary prayer: muttering Hail Marys under her breath
    More example sentences
    • He had some Hail Marys to say after his last movie.
    • Whatever the truth, this distinguished and talented actor has some Hail Marys to say.
    • She wished she were catholic so she could go to a priest and confess, then say some Hail Marys and be absolved.
  • 2 [usually as modifier] Football A very long, typically unsuccessful pass made in a desperate attempt to score late in the game: they beat the 49ers on a Hail Mary pass in the final seconds
    More example sentences
    • They beat the other team on a Hail Mary pass as time expired, marking easily the most exciting play of the day.
    • He is valuable in short-yardage situations and perfectly executed a Hail Mary pass for a touchdown against the other team.
    • And this was, and as some people, as I say, call it a Hail Mary pass.
  • 2.1Any attempt with a small chance of success: a Hail Mary plan
    More example sentences
    • Nobody thought this was a 60-win team, mind you, but certainly a strong enough group to return to the playoffs without a Hail Mary deal.
    • I can only imagine this was the perp's attempt at a Hail Mary to get key evidence thrown out.

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Pronunciation: mɪˈlɔːd
used to address an English nobleman