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[hair-bawl] /ˈhɛərˌbɔl/
a ball of hair accumulated in the stomach or intestines of a cat or other animal as a result of the animal's licking its coat.
Origin of hairball
First recorded in 1705-15; hair + ball1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for hairball


a compact mass of hair that forms in the stomach of cats, calves, etc, as a result of licking and swallowing the fur, and causes vomiting, coughing, bloat, weight loss, and depression
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hairball

1712, from hair + ball (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hairball in Medicine

hairball hair·ball (hâr'bôl')
A small mass of hair located in the stomach or intestine of an animal, such as a cat, resulting from an accumulation of small amounts of hair that are swallowed each time the animal licks its coat. Also called pilobezoar, trichobezoar.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for hairball



  1. A noisy, destructive drunk: Jon was being a hairball last night. He got heated and thrashed the whole upstairs (1980s+ Students)
  2. A repulsive person; scumball, sleazebag: makes a nice change from the hairballs featured in most crime novels (mid-1980s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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