- 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).
- bolus(def 1).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- ball the jack, Slang.
- to act with speed.
- to stake everything on one attempt.
- carry the ball, to assume the responsibility; bear the burden: You can always count on him to carry the ball in an emergency.
- 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,
- 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.
- play 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.
- 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
- a large, usually lavish, formal party featuring social dancing and sometimes given for a particular purpose, as to introduce debutantes or benefit a charitable organization.
- Informal. a thoroughly good time: Have a ball on your vacation!
Origin of ball2
Examples from the Web for 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
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
- the testicles
- by the balls so as to be rendered powerless
- nonsense; rubbish
- courage; forcefulness
- an exclamation of strong disagreement, contempt, annoyance, etc
- John . died 1381, English priest: executed as one of the leaders of the Peasants' Revolt (1381)
- 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)
- 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 and History for balls
"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.
- A spherical object or mass.
- A bezoar.
- A large pill or bolus.
Idioms and Phrases with balls
In addition to the idioms beginning with ball