on the ball, be

Also, have something on the ball. Be especially capable or efficient, as in These programmers really have a lot on the ball. This term originated in baseball, where it was used for throwing a pitch with exceptional speed, spin, or some other deceptive motion. [Slang; early 1900s]


Nearby words

  1. on target,
  2. on tenterhooks,
  3. on the air,
  4. on the alert,
  5. on the average,
  6. on the bandwagon, get,
  7. on the barrel,
  8. on the beam,
  9. on the bench,
  10. on the blink

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.