ballpark

or ball park

[bawl-pahrk]

noun

a tract of land where ball games, especially baseball, are played.
a baseball stadium.

adjective

Informal. being an approximation, based on an educated guess: Give me a ballpark figure on our total expenses for next year.

Idioms

    in the ballpark, Informal. within reasonable, acceptable, or expected limits: The price may go up another $10, but that's still in the ballpark.

Origin of ballpark

An Americanism dating back to 1895–1900; ball1 + park
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


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British Dictionary definitions for ballpark

ballpark

noun

US and Canadian a stadium used for baseball games
informal
  1. approximate rangein the right ballpark
  2. (as modifier)a ballpark figure
informal a situation; state of affairsit's a whole new ballpark for him
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

Word Origin and History for ballpark
n.

"baseball stadium," 1899, from (base)ball + park (n.). Figurative sense of "acceptable range of approximation" first recorded 1954, originally in the jargon of atomic weapons scientists, perhaps originally referring to area within which a missile was expected to return to earth; the reference is to broad but reasonably predictable dimensions.

The result, according to the author's estimate, is a stockpile equivalent to one billion tons of TNT. Assuming this estimate is "in the ball park," clearly there is valid reason for urging candor on the part of our government. [Ralph E. Lapp, "Atomic Candor," in "Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists," October 1954]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper