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.

Origin of meatball

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

Examples from the Web for meatball

Contemporary Examples of meatball

British Dictionary definitions for meatball


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper