• synonyms


  1. a small ball of ground meat, especially beef, often mixed with bread crumbs, seasonings, etc., before cooking.
  2. Slang. an awkward, clumsy, or ineffectual person.
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Origin of meatball

First recorded in 1830–40; meat + ball1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for meatball


  1. minced beef, shaped into a ball before cooking
  2. US and Canadian slang a stupid or boring person
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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 meatball


1801, from meat + ball (n.1). As an insult to a person, by 1941.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper