Idioms

Origin of ball

1
1175–1225; Middle English bal, balle < Old French < Germanic *ballaz; compare Old Norse bǫllr, Old High German bal, ballo, balla, German Ball, Dutch bal; perhaps akin to Latin follis leather bag; see ballock(s)

Related forms

ball·er, noun

Can be confused

bald balled bawled
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for play ball (1 of 3)

Ball

/ (bɔːl) /

noun

John . died 1381, English priest: executed as one of the leaders of the Peasants' Revolt (1381)

British Dictionary definitions for play ball (2 of 3)

ball

1
/ (bɔːl) /

noun


verb

Word Origin for ball

C13: from Old Norse böllr; related to Old High German balla, Italian palla French balle

usage

Sense 9 of this word was formerly considered to be taboo, and it was labelled as such in previous editions of Collins English Dictionary . However, it has now become acceptable in speech, although some older or more conservative people may object to its use

British Dictionary definitions for play ball (3 of 3)

ball

2
/ (bɔːl) /

noun

a social function for dancing, esp one that is lavish or formal
informal a very enjoyable time (esp in the phrase have a ball)

Word Origin for ball

C17: from French bal (n), from Old French baller (vb), from Late Latin ballāre to dance, from Greek ballizein
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

Medicine definitions for play ball

ball

[ bôl ]

n.

A spherical object or mass.
A bezoar.
A large pill or bolus.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with play ball (1 of 2)

play ball

1

Cooperate, as in The opposing attorneys refused to play ball with us. [Slang; c. 1900]


2

Get going, start, as in It's time to get a move on; let's play ball. This usage comes from the baseball umpire's call to start a game. [Slang; late 1800s]

Idioms and Phrases with play ball (2 of 2)

ball

In addition to the idioms beginning with ball

  • ball and chain
  • ball of fire
  • ball up

also see:

  • behind the eight ball
  • break one's balls
  • by the balls
  • carry the ball
  • crystal ball
  • drop the ball
  • eyeball to eyeball
  • get the ball rolling
  • have a ball
  • have one's eye on the ball
  • have someone by the balls
  • on the ball
  • play ball
  • put in mothballs
  • snowball's chance in hell
  • that's how the ball bounces
  • whole ball of wax

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