[ bawl-uhp ]
/ ˈbɔlˌʌp /
a state of confusion; mix-up.
👍 - thumbs up emoji - What does the thumbs up emoji mean?Read more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.
9 Synonyms For “Screwing Up”We’ve all had moments where we’ve really and truly screwed something up. An epic mistake (OK, maybe not on a historic, global scale like the February 26, 2017 Oscars). But still, we’re human, and mistakes do happen. There are a lot of words to describe things going south in a hurry. We’ve gathered a few here. You’ll notice they’re all very close in definition. Maybe …
Also especially British, balls-up [bawlz-uhp] /ˈbɔlzˌʌp/.
Origin of ballup
First recorded in 1935–40; noun use of verb phrase ball up
Definition for balls-up (2 of 2)
[ 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.
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)
Related formsball·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for balls-up (1 of 4)
something botched or muddled
verb balls up, US ball up
(tr, adverb) to muddle or botch
British Dictionary definitions for balls-up (2 of 4)
/ (bɔːl) /
John . died 1381, English priest: executed as one of the leaders of the Peasants' Revolt (1381)
British Dictionary definitions for balls-up (3 of 4)
/ (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
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 balls-up (4 of 4)
/ (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
Medicine definitions for balls-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 balls-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.