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.
- 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.
2 [usually as modifier] American Football A long, typically unsuccessful pass made in an attempt to score late in the game.
- 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.
2.1A plan or project with little chance of success.
- 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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