- 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 ballsjump, mingle, hop, shindig, promenade, prom, reception, orb, balloon, drop, pill, globule, pellet, round, apple, spheroid, hoedown, globoid
Examples from the Web for balls
Contemporary Examples of balls
Does he have the balls to run again after someone resigns over ethical issues?The Felon Who Wouldn’t Leave Congress
Ben Jacobs, David Freedlander
December 23, 2014
Hell, one of the Dixie Chicks even offered to Uber her balls over to the company.Sony: Hollywood’s Most Subversive Studio Under Attack
December 23, 2014
If you prefer them chewy in the middle and crisp outside, chill the balls of dough.Make These Barefoot Contessa Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
November 28, 2014
He praised Snowden for having the “balls” to expose the crimes of the NSA.The Bolshevik Who Thinks ‘The Nation’ Is Too Left Wing
October 26, 2014
With the bases loaded, the ultimately rational Palmer always throws every pitch at a corner--even with three balls on the batter.Will the Real Jim Palmer Please Stand Up
September 27, 2014
Historical Examples of balls
Mix the cream and salt with the cheese and shape into balls.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 4
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
He moved with alert assurance, lithely balanced on the balls of his feet, noiselessly.Within the Law
The balls experimented on were a new set obtained from Mr. Bown.
We stuffed the pink dainties with mint, and baked them in balls of clay.In the Valley
While he yet spake, two balls entered his heart, and he fell dead.The Works of Whittier, Volume VI (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
- a solid nonexplosive projectile for a firearmCompare shell (def. 6)
- such projectiles collectively
Word Origin for ball
Word Origin for ball
"testicles," early 14c., from plural of ball (n.1). See also ballocks. Meaning "courage, nerve" is from 1928. Balls to the wall, however, probably is from World War II Air Forces slang, from the ball that topped the aircraft throttle, thrust to the bulkhead of the cockpit to attain full speed. Ball-busting "difficult" is first recorded 1944; ball-buster, disparaging for "dominant female," is from 1974.
"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