Definition of move the goalposts in US English:

move the goalposts

phrase

  • Unfairly alter the conditions or rules of a procedure during its course.

    • ‘Or, to put it another way, why didn't we move the goalposts?’
    • ‘Nobody will notice that you are constantly moving the goalposts.’
    • ‘This values debate has shown itself to be extremely useful to the GOP for decades and they are very adept at moving the goalposts when it's necessary.’
    • ‘They had no use for bi-partisanship and for every step we took toward the middle they simply moved the goalposts.’
    • ‘Changing the rules is one thing, moving the goalposts after a shot has been taken is quite another.’
    • ‘They immediately started moving the goalposts.’
    • ‘Proving that ID isn't science is useful, and I think even necessary, but it does not preclude the creationists from moving the goalposts, as they are already trying to do in Dover.’
    • ‘You can't score if the ref keeps moving the goalpost.’
    • ‘To be a truly advanced, sophisticated democracy you need an opposition party that knows how to react to good news by sounding whiny and grudging and moving the goalposts.’
    • ‘If Israel makes it a new precondition for progress, it will have moved the goalpost, with the cooperation of the referee.’