hardball

[ hahrd-bawl ]
/ ˈhɑrdˌbɔl /
||

noun

baseball, as distinguished from softball.

adjective

tough or ruthless: He wasn't ready for the hardball politics of Washington.
outspoken, challenging, or difficult: Reporters asked the president some hardball questions.

Idioms

    play hardball, to act or work aggressively, competitively, or ruthlessly, as in business or politics.

Origin of hardball

First recorded in 1825–35; hard + ball1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hardball

British Dictionary definitions for hardball

hardball

/ (ˈhɑːdbɔːl) /

noun

US and Canadian baseball as distinct from softball
play hardball informal, mainly US and Canadian to act in a ruthless or uncompromising way
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 hardball

hardball


n.

1883 as the name of a game, from hard + ball (n.1). The figurative sense of "tough, uncompromising behavior" is from 1973.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper