Hail Mary

plural Hail Marys

Definition of Hail Mary

1 : a Roman Catholic prayer to the Virgin Mary that consists of salutations and a plea for her intercession
2 or less commonly Hail Mary pass : a long forward pass in football thrown into or near the end zone in a last-ditch attempt to score as time runs out often used figurativelyThe only potential cure is a stem-cell transplant, when you take somebody else's immune system and put it into yours. But right now that's kind of a Hail Mary pass.— Douglas Cote, quoted in Bicycling

Examples of Hail Mary in a Sentence

He threw up a Hail Mary at the end of the first half.

First Known Use of Hail Mary

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for Hail Mary

translation of Medieval Latin Ave, Maria, from the opening words

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The first known use of Hail Mary was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Hail Mary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Hail%20Mary. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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Hail Mary


English Language Learners Definition of Hail Mary

: a Roman Catholic prayer to the Virgin Mary
American football : a long forward pass thrown into or close to the end zone as playing time runs out

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