[ bawl ]
/ bɔl /
a spherical or approximately spherical body or shape; sphere: He rolled the piece of paper into a ball.
a round or roundish body, of various sizes and materials, either hollow or solid, for use in games, as baseball, football, tennis, or golf.
a game played with a ball, especially baseball: The boys are out playing ball.
Baseball. a pitched ball, not swung at by the batter, that does not pass over home plate between the batter's shoulders and knees.
- a solid, usually spherical projectile for a cannon, rifle, pistol, etc., as distinguished from a shell.
- projectiles, especially bullets, collectively.
any part of a thing, especially of the human body, that is rounded or protuberant: the ball of the thumb.
a round mass of food, as of chopped meat, dough, or candy.
Slang: Vulgar. a testis.
balls, Slang: Vulgar.
- boldness; courage; brashness.
- nonsense (often used as an interjection).
Horticulture. a compact mass of soil covering the roots of an uprooted tree or other plant.
Literary. a planetary or celestial body, especially the earth.
Mathematics. (in a metric space) the set of points whose distance from the zero element is less than, or less than or equal to, a specified number.
verb (used with object)
to make into a ball (sometimes followed by up): The children were balling up snow to make a snowman.
to wind into balls: to ball cotton.
Slang: Vulgar. to have sexual intercourse with.
verb (used without object)
to form or gather into a ball: When the spun sugar balls, the candy has cooked sufficiently.
Slang: Vulgar. to have sexual intercourse.
ball up, Slang. to make or become utterly confused; muddle: The records had been all balled up by inefficient file clerks.
Words nearby ball
Idioms for ball
- to act with speed.
- to stake everything on one attempt.
ball the jack, Slang.
carry the ball, to assume the responsibility; bear the burden: You can always count on him to carry the ball in an emergency.
- 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.
drop the ball, to make a mistake or miss an opportunity at a critical moment.
keep the ball rolling, to continue or give renewed vigor to an activity already under way: When their interest lagged, he tried to keep the ball rolling.
on the ball,
run with the ball, to assume responsibility or work enthusiastically: If management approves the concept, we'll run with the ball.
start the ball rolling, to put into operation; begin: The recreation director started the ball rolling by having all the participants introduce themselves.
Origin of ball1
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)
OTHER WORDS FROM ballball·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for balled up (1 of 3)
/ (bɔːl) /
John . died 1381, English priest: executed as one of the leaders of the Peasants' Revolt (1381)
British Dictionary definitions for balled up (2 of 3)
/ (bɔːl) /
a spherical or nearly spherical body or massa ball of wool
a round or roundish body, either solid or hollow, of a size and composition suitable for any of various games: football, golf, billiards, etc
a ball propelled in a particular way in a sporta high ball
any of various rudimentary games with a ballto play ball
cricket a single delivery of the ball by the bowler to the batsman
baseball a single delivery of the ball by a pitcher outside certain limits and not swung at by the batter
- a solid nonexplosive projectile for a firearmCompare shell (def. 6)
- such projectiles collectively
any more or less rounded part or protuberancethe ball of the foot
slang a testicleSee balls
vet science another word for bolus
horticulture the hard mass of roots and earth removed with the rest of the plant during transplanting
ball of muscle Australian a very strong, fit, or forceful person
have the ball at one's feet to have the chance of doing something
keep the ball rolling to maintain the progress of a project, plan, etc
on the ball informal alert; informed
play ball informal to cooperate
set the ball rolling or start the ball rolling to open or initiate (an action, discussion, movement, etc)
the ball is in your court you are obliged to make the next move
(tr) to make, form, wind, etc, into a ball or ballsto ball wool
(intr) to gather into a ball or balls
taboo, slang, mainly US to copulate (with)
Word Origin for ball
C13: from Old Norse böllr; related to Old High German balla, Italian palla French balle
usage for ball
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 balled up (3 of 3)
/ (bɔːl) /
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
Medical definitions for balled up
[ bôl ]
A spherical object or mass.
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 balled up
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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.