I would like to understand the use of "home" and "in" in this context. How do they work? It's a little confusing "Thump" means strike the ball hard and its object is "the winner". I, therefore, read "thump the winner" as meaning "strike the ball hard the winner" and it doesn't seem to make any sense whatever. Could you elaborate this construction? I also heard a commentator say "blast in an equaliser" that seems the same thing.

Raheem Sterling thumped home the winner to make it 4-3 and secure the Blues' second trophy of the campaign.

Raheem Sterling sent Stamford Bridge into delirium when he thumped in the winner.

70min: More chances have come and gone for City! Bernd Leno acrobatically tipped over Raheem Sterling's close range header moments earlier. And from the corner that followed, the ball was again worked to the substitute, but he bent his effort wide of the far post after jinking in.

Man City vs Chelsea

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    You should write down these things you hear/see so you can reuse them. Check out this site: languagecaster.com
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2023 at 17:37

4 Answers 4


"Thump" means to hit something hard.

"Thump home" means to hit something hard and to send it to somewhere it belongs. A billiard ball might find "home" in the pocket, a basketball in the hoop, and a soccer ball in the goal. The context is very important to determine what "home" refers to exactly, but generally, it's "where you're trying to put something".

Here, "the winner" refers to the winning goal (the goal that made it 4-3). This can only really be used in a retrospective sense, as you won't generally know which goal was the winning one until the game is over.

Putting it all together, "thump home the winner" in this context means to forcefully kick the winning goal into the net. The meaning is unchanged by swapping "in" for "home", both are referring to the only logical context of what you'd be kicking the ball into - the goal.

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    My first thought on seeing the question was of baseball, in which the batter's hit can create an opportunity for a teammate to score by reaching home plate. Dec 6, 2023 at 18:52

This is all football jargon:

When you kick a football hard (soccer ball), it makes a thumping sound. It's a great sound.

So, the sports journalist is using the term to mean kicked the ball very hard.

thump in means: thump in[to the goal].

Thump in the winner means kick the winning ball into the goal.

thump home=to kick it into the goal

To thump a team can also mean to win a match.

In that sense (different from the ball), thump means to beat the other team.

In fact, there is an idiom: to give someone a thumping (to beat them or beat them up)

English through football

This week’s English for football phrase is ‘to thump a team‘. If you thump a team it means that one team has beaten another team easily – other words that can be used include, thrashed, hammered and destroyed. The word thump actually means to strike or beat someone or something so we can suppose that if a team is thumped they feel battered and bruised, as if they have been beaten up. For example, this week Liverpool easily beat Portsmouth in the Premier League – in fact the BBC suggested that they thumped the team from the bottom of the league. To thump a team.

English through football

There are examples of a football being thumped on Youtube but the sound doesn't come through very well...

Here's the best I could find, looking quickly

football thump sound

Jinking Run [from the same site about English through football with a link above]

When a player dribbles with the ball to beat the opposing defenders. To jink means to move from side to side or to often change direction.

Example: Lionel Messi beat three players in a jinking run before firing past the keeper.
Example: The winger went on a jinking run and then set up the winner with a perfect cross.

So, after jinking in [jinking the ball in, I think] means to move from side to side before trying to get a goal.

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    I've never heard anyone use figurative We thumped [the other team] instead of We beat / thrashed / whipped / licked / ... them (we won by a significant margin). Dec 4, 2023 at 19:57
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    @FumbleFingers Well, I think those British guys know what they are talking about, don't you?// "What we don't want to see is our teams getting thumped. It was embarrassing a wee bit last season in the Champions League." BBC Sport
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2023 at 20:08
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    Daily Mail: How Mikel Arteta can rally his Arsenal troops after Man City thumped them to take control of the title race. Also used as an adjective: thumping win over x
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2023 at 20:10
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    @FumbleFingers I just spoke to a friend in London who is very involved locally with Leyton Orient and he was surprised that a fellow Englishman did not know the term. The Champions League quote is from a UK person; not any American.
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2023 at 23:13
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    Also, the two guys who do that site (link in my answer) on football are both English.
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2023 at 23:23

This is idiom and quite slangy.

Something's home is the place where it belongs, the place it should be. So where should the football be? Answer: in the back of the net!

Saying "The winner" is metonymy (or is it synecdoche?) It refers to the ball, as the agent of scoring a goal.

So Sterling "Thumped home something": he kicked something very hard, to where he wanted it to go. What did he kick? "the ball, which caused a goal to be scored, which resulted in his side winning the match"

Two points for improving your understanding:

  1. Don't try to analyse the words like this. Understand sentences not words. Here, it is easy to understand that Raheem scored the winning goal, by kicking the ball hard. You don't need to think of synecdoche to understand that.
  2. Remember that commentators are speaking live, So listen, don't read. You don't need to be able to translate everything that was said, you are mostly looking to get insight into the match as it happens.
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    This is all English football jargon, but it is not slang.
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2023 at 18:04
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    @Lambie - I wonder if your words will hit home? Dec 4, 2023 at 18:33
  • Can I say the sentence without "home"? Raheem Sterling sent Stamford Bridge into delirium when he thumped the winner.
    – Nyambek
    Dec 5, 2023 at 5:42
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    @Nyambek - You can, but it means something somewhat different. That would just mean that he hit "the winner", which could be "the winning ball into the goal" or could be "the player who scored the winning goal" (as in "thumped the winner on the back"). In the right context, it could even mean refer to something like "he took the ball that scored the winning goal and then hit it into the stands". So to convey the original meaning, you need something that references the goal (like "home", "in").
    – Bobson
    Dec 5, 2023 at 14:47
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    @Nyambek Why try and change everything? Thump home is to kick into the goal like I said in my answer. thumped in the winner and thump home the winner are two ways to say: kicked the ball into the goal, the goal which won the match.
    – Lambie
    Dec 5, 2023 at 15:36

Specifically on "jinking in", which I don't think any other current answer adequately explains:

70min: More chances have come and gone for City! Bernd Leno acrobatically tipped over Raheem Sterling's close range header moments earlier. And from the corner that followed, the ball was again worked to the substitute, but he bent his effort wide of the far post after jinking in.

"The substitute" here refers to Raheem Sterling, you can think of it as elegant variation on the part of the commentator, to avoid saying the name over and over.

"Jinking" has been covered: it refers to moving (usually with the ball) in an unpredictable way, quickly and repeatedly changing direction to confuse the defenders

However, the "in" in "jinking in" has a quite specific meaning: it means in a direction away from the the wings and towards the 'spine' of the pitch, an imaginary line from one goal to the other. I just made up 'spine' there, I don't know if there's a more commonly-used word.


And from the corner that followed, the ball was again worked to the substitute, but he bent his effort wide of the far post after jinking in.


From the corner, the team made a series of passes which ended with Sterling having the ball. He jinked from a position towards the side of the pitch, to a more central position; took a shot; but the shot missed.

That from ... to is what the "in" means.

You could also use "out" to refer to the other direction: from the 'spine' towards the wings.

  • Thanks a lot. Does "in" in these sentences mean the same thing as your explanation above? – Rasford thunders in a strike from outside the penalty box that misses the goal. Soucek ghosts in and volleys past the goalkeeper.
    – Nyambek
    Dec 5, 2023 at 20:41
  • I think those are both using in in a different sense - simply, generally towards the target goal
    – AakashM
    Dec 5, 2023 at 22:30
  • In ghost in and cut in, does the in mean "run into the goal? SOUCEK STRIKES AGAIN! A GOAL IN FIVE GAMES IN A ROW FROM TOMAS SOUCEK! Kehrer tees up Cornet, who cuts in on his left foot and curls a deep cross to the fat post, where Soucek ghosts in and volleys past the goalkeeper! It's almost a carbon copy of his winner at Burnley on Saturday! FK TSC 0-1 West Ham United
    – Nyambek
    Dec 6, 2023 at 7:33
  • "Cuts in" is probably the 'towards the 'spine'' sense I discuss in this answer. "Ghosts in" is probably 'in the general direction of the target goal', but I'd need to have seen the match to be sure...
    – AakashM
    Dec 6, 2023 at 9:05
  • Thanks, AakashM. Does "in" mean "toward the spine" in this sentence? –Marcus Rashford darts into the area, hammers in a first-time shot from wide on the right of the area, and Lukasz Fabianski makes a really good one-handed save to turn it away. – Tierney drives in from the left and wins another corner for the Bhoys as his right-footed shot takes a deflection again
    – Nyambek
    Dec 6, 2023 at 11:37

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