have a ball
Enjoy oneself enormously, as in It was a great trip—I had a ball. This idiom uses the noun ball in the sense of “a gala dance.” [Slang; 1920s]
Words nearby have a ball
BEHIND THE PHRASE
What does have a ball mean?
Have a ball is a figurative phrase that means to enjoy oneself greatly, as in My kids love Disneyland, so they will have a ball when we go there this summer.
Generally, you’ll use have a ball while you’re enjoying yourself, so you’ll say that you’re having a ball. But you can also use the phrase when you’re looking forward to an activity (We’ll have a ball at the arcades!) or later, when the event is over (We had a ball at the pool today.)
A literal sense of have a ball means to hold a ball or have control over a ball, as in Maddie scored a lot of goals during the soccer game because she had the ball a lot. As you’d imagine, this sense is less common.
Example: Anita had a ball at laser tag and can’t wait to play again.
Where does have a ball come from?
The first records of the phrase have a ball come from around 1879. It comes from American slang. The word ball is used in the sense of a fancy party with dancing, such as the one attended by Cinderella.
Have a ball is more likely to be used in informal writing and speech, such as social media posts, or less serious news reports. The phrases have fun or enjoy oneself are generally preferred in formal writing, such as essays for a class or a report for your boss.
Did you know … ?
How is have a ball used in real life?
Have a ball is a commonly used phrase that means to enjoy yourself.
Picked up my new electric cargo bike yesterday, and I fear I'm going to join the chorus of people saying it's a game-changer. Hauled both my kids around (100 pounds combined) with little effort, and they had a ball with it.
— Martin Austermuhle (@maustermuhle) March 26, 2021
I’m doing whatever I want to do this summer and I’m going to have a ball doing it ..🥰🥰💁🏽♀️💁🏽♀️💁🏽♀️
— 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙮𝙅. 🦋 (@_jsimoneee) April 9, 2021
Just playing Beverly Hills by Weezer over and over and having a ball
— Zach Carlat (@ZCarlat) June 7, 2021
Try using have a ball!
Is have a ball used correctly in the following sentence?
My friends were having a ball at the party and couldn’t wait to leave because it was so boring.
How to use have a ball in a sentence
ROME — What does it take for a Hollywood A-lister to get a private audience with Pope Francis?Pope Francis Has the Pleasure of Meeting Angelina Jolie for a Few Seconds|Barbie Latza Nadeau|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
One of the kids had a ball in his hand, and Cuomo took it and tossed it back and forth to an eight year old.
Instead of going for the hole, I hit the ball directly into the water.
There is only sand, a white ball, and a flag indicating the hole.
If the ball gets in the hole, the screen shifts to reveal the next hole.
Now-a-days it is the bankrupt who flouts, and his too confiding creditors who are jeered and laughed at.Glances at Europe|Horace Greeley
He felt himself the meanest, vilest thing a-crawl upon this sinful earth, and she—dear God!St. Martin's Summer|Rafael Sabatini
All that scientific bric-a-brac in the cupboard had far better be thrown away.The Salvaging Of Civilisation|H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
It was little better than coal dust, and would not carry a ball fifty paces to kill or wound.
Urinary sediments may be studied under three heads: A. Unorganized sediments.A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis|James Campbell Todd