Idioms

Origin of ball

1
1175–1225; Middle English bal, balle < Old French < Germanic *ballaz; compare Old Norse bǫllr, Old High German bal, ballo, balla, German Ball, Dutch bal; perhaps akin to Latin follis leather bag; see ballock(s)
Related formsball·er, noun
Can be confusedbald balled bawled
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for ball up (1 of 3)

Ball

/ (bɔːl) /

noun

John . died 1381, English priest: executed as one of the leaders of the Peasants' Revolt (1381)

British Dictionary definitions for ball up (2 of 3)

ball

1
/ (bɔːl) /

noun

verb

Word Origin for ball

C13: from Old Norse böllr; related to Old High German balla, Italian palla French balle

usage

Sense 9 of this word was formerly considered to be taboo, and it was labelled as such in previous editions of Collins English Dictionary . However, it has now become acceptable in speech, although some older or more conservative people may object to its use

British Dictionary definitions for ball up (3 of 3)

ball

2
/ (bɔːl) /

noun

a social function for dancing, esp one that is lavish or formal
informal a very enjoyable time (esp in the phrase have a ball)

Word Origin for ball

C17: from French bal (n), from Old French baller (vb), from Late Latin ballāre to dance, from Greek ballizein
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

Medicine definitions for ball up

ball

[ bôl ]

n.

A spherical object or mass.
A bezoar.
A large pill or bolus.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with ball up (1 of 2)

ball up


1

Roll something into a ball, as in She loved to knit and was always balling up her yarn. [Early 1800s]

2

Confuse or bungle, as in Jane got all balled up at the beginning of her speech, or Henry really balled up that exam. This term may come from the fact that when a horse is driven over soft or partly thawed snow, the snow becomes packed into icy balls on its hoofs, making it stumble. Another theory is that it alludes to the vulgar term balls for testicles. [First half of 1900s]

Idioms and Phrases with ball up (2 of 2)

ball


In addition to the idioms beginning with ball

  • ball and chain
  • ball of fire
  • ball up

also see:

  • behind the eight ball
  • break one's balls
  • by the balls
  • carry the ball
  • crystal ball
  • drop the ball
  • eyeball to eyeball
  • get the ball rolling
  • have a ball
  • have one's eye on the ball
  • have someone by the balls
  • on the ball
  • play ball
  • put in mothballs
  • snowball's chance in hell
  • that's how the ball bounces
  • whole ball of wax
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.