See more synonyms for highball on Thesaurus.com
  1. a drink of whiskey mixed with club soda or ginger ale and served with ice in a tall glass.
  2. Railroads.
    1. a signal to start a train, given with the hand or with a lamp.
    2. a signal for a train to move at full speed.
  3. Military Slang. a hand salute.
verb (used without object)
  1. Slang. to move at full speed.
verb (used with object)
  1. to signal to (the engineer of a train) to proceed.

Origin of highball

An Americanism dating back to 1880–85; high + ball1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for highballing


  1. a long iced drink consisting of a spirit base with water, soda water, etc
  2. (originally in railway use) a signal that the way ahead is clear and one may proceed
  1. (intr) to move at great speed
  2. (tr) to drive (a vehicle) at great speed

Word Origin for highball

C19: (in sense 2) from the early railway signal consisting of a ball hoisted to the top of a pole
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 highballing



type of alcoholic drink, 1898, probably from ball "drink of whiskey;" high because it is served in a tall glass.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper