[ kan-uh n-bawl ]
/ ˈkæn ənˌbɔl /

noun Also cannon ball.

a missile, usually round and made of iron or steel, designed to be fired from a cannon.
Tennis. a served ball that travels with great speed and describes little or no arc in flight.
anything that moves with great speed, as an express train.


made from a curled-up position with the arms pressing the knees against one's chest: a cannonball dive.
moving at great speed: a train known as a cannonball express.

Origin of cannonball

First recorded in 1655–65; cannon + ball1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cannon-ball

British Dictionary definitions for cannon-ball


/ (ˈkænənˌbɔːl) /


a projectile fired from a cannon: usually a solid round metal shot
  1. a very fast low serve
  2. (as modifier)a cannonball serve
a jump into water by a person who has his arms tucked into the body to form a ball

verb (intr)

(often foll by along, etc) to rush along, like a cannonball
to execute a cannonball jump


very fast or powerful
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 cannon-ball



also cannon ball, 1660s, from cannon (n.) + ball (n.1). As a type of dive, from 1905.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper