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ballup

[ bawl-uhp ]
/ ˈbɔlˌʌp /
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noun Slang.
a state of confusion; mix-up.
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Also especially British, balls-up [bawlz-uhp]. /ˈbɔlzˌʌp/.

Origin of ballup

First recorded in 1935–40; noun use of verb phrase ball up
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Other Idioms and Phrases with ballup

ball up

1

Roll something into a ball, as in She loved to knit and was always balling up her yarn. [Early 1800s]

2

Confuse or bungle, as in Jane got all balled up at the beginning of her speech, or Henry really balled up that exam. This term may come from the fact that when a horse is driven over soft or partly thawed snow, the snow becomes packed into icy balls on its hoofs, making it stumble. Another theory is that it alludes to the vulgar term balls for testicles. [First half of 1900s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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