- a solid, usually spherical projectile for a cannon, rifle, pistol, etc., as distinguished from a shell.
- projectiles, especially bullets, collectively.
- boldness; courage; brashness.
- nonsense (often used as an interjection).
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- to act with speed.
- to stake everything on one attempt.
- alert and efficient or effective: If you don't get on the ball, you'll be fired.
- indicating intelligence or ability: The tests show your students don't have much on the ball. The new manager has a lot on the ball.
- to begin or continue playing a game.
- to start or continue any action.
- to work together; cooperate: union leaders suspected of playing ball with racketeers.
Origin of ball1
Origin of ball2
Related Words for balljump, mingle, hop, shindig, promenade, prom, reception, orb, balloon, drop, pill, globule, pellet, round, apple, spheroid, hoedown, globoid
Examples from the Web for ball
Contemporary Examples of ball
One of the kids had a ball in his hand, and Cuomo took it and tossed it back and forth to an eight year old.Mario Cuomo, Always Moving Us Toward the Light
January 4, 2015
Instead of going for the hole, I hit the ball directly into the water.
If the ball gets in the hole, the screen shifts to reveal the next hole.
An arrow appears indicating the direction you will launch your ball.
If the ball goes off the screen, it teleports back to the starting position.
Historical Examples of ball
The ball of red fire in the west was half below the rim of the distant peak.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
You see, we left the shop in such a hurry we never thought about powder and ball.In the Midst of Alarms
The pressing of this ball actuates a detonator inside the flask I carry in my pocket.The Secret Agent
It is a great game of ball; the bats are broad and light, and the ball is small and soft.A Little Book of Profitable Tales
Come to the ball at Harrowgate, I win my bet, and I'm your sworn friend.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
- a solid nonexplosive projectile for a firearmCompare shell (def. 6)
- such projectiles collectively
Word Origin for ball
Word Origin for ball
"round object," Old English *beal, from or corresponding to Old Norse bollr "ball," from Proto-Germanic *balluz (cf. Old High German ballo, German Ball), from PIE root *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell" (see bole).
Meaning "testicle" is from early 14c. Ball of the foot is from mid-14c. A ball as an object in a sports game is recorded from c.1200; To have the ball "hold the advantage" is from c.1400. To be on the ball is 1912, from sports. Ball-point pen first recorded 1946. Ball of fire when first recorded in 1821 referred to "a glass of brandy;" as "spectacularly successful striver" it is c.1900.
"dancing party," 1630s, from French, from Old French baller "to dance," from Late Latin ballare "to dance," from Greek ballizein "to dance, jump about" (see ballistics). Hence, "very enjoyable time," 1945, American English slang, perhaps back to 1930s in black slang.
In addition to the idioms beginning with ball
- ball and chain
- ball of fire
- ball up
- 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