a small ball or lump of chewed paper used as a missile.
Also called spitter. Baseball. a pitch, now illegal, made to curve by moistening one side of the ball with saliva or perspiration.

Origin of spitball

An Americanism dating back to 1840–50; spit1 + ball1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spitball

Contemporary Examples of spitball

Historical Examples of spitball

  • But the very first "spitball" which spattered upon the blackboard proved a disastrous missile for its thrower.

    Cy Whittaker's Place

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • I thought I could go through the motion of throwing a spitball without letting it go.

    The Iron Puddler

    James J. Davis

  • Hooper was a spitball artist, and his moist slants kept the Giants guessing in the early part of the game.

  • He had never cared for the spitball, as he knew that sooner or later it destroyed a pitchers effectiveness.

  • There are also other modifications called "the fade away," "the spitball," and others.

    Outdoor Sports and Games

    Claude H. Miller

Word Origin and History for spitball

1846 in the schoolboy sense; 1905 in the baseball sense, from spit + ball (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper