Definition of Hail Mary in English:

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Hail Mary

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.
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] American 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.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Hail Mar·y

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