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ball and chain Syllabification: ball and chain
Pronunciation: /ˌbôl (ə)n ˈCHān/

Definition of ball and chain in English:


1A heavy metal ball secured by a chain to the leg of a prisoner to prevent escape.
Example sentences
  • A believer in strict discipline, he preferred forms of punishment like putting a prisoner in stocks or shackling him to a ball and chain.
  • They're bringing it back to the days when they made you wear stripes and now a chain, a ball and chain.
  • For the walls of their new London headquarters, officials have forked out £4,877 for 77 wood carvings and paintings plus a sculpture of a ball and chain by convicts.
1.1A crippling encumbrance: the ball and chain of debt
More example sentences
  • It's like a noose, it's like a ball and chain around the U.S. economy's foot or neck, or wherever the heck it is.
  • Too often debt burden becomes a ball and chain for student borrowers after graduation.
  • You're not here to keep me company, you're my ball and chain!
Definition of ball and chain in:
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