1. a game, similar to squash, played by two or four persons who strike a small ball against a wall or walls with the hand.
  2. the small, hard rubber ball used in this game.

Origin of handball

First recorded in 1400–50, handball is from the late Middle English word handballe. See hand, ball1
Related formshand·ball·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for handball

Historical Examples of handball

British Dictionary definitions for handball


  1. a game in which two teams of seven players try to throw a ball into their opponent's goal
  2. a game in which two or four people strike a ball against a wall or walls with the hand, usually gloved
  3. the small hard rubber ball used in this game
  4. soccer the offence committed when a player other than a goalkeeper in his own penalty area touches the ball with a hand
  1. Australian rules football to pass (the ball) with a blow of the fist
Derived Formshandballer, noun
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 handball

also hand-ball, 1630s as a type of ball; 1885 as a game, from hand (n.) + ball (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper