There are 2 definitions of ball in English:

ball1

Syllabification: ball
Pronunciation: /bôl
 
/

noun

1A solid or hollow sphere or ovoid, especially one that is kicked, thrown, or hit in a game: a soccer ball
More example sentences
  • In those days we were just a bunch of street kids playing cricket with a tennis ball and practising drop kicks over the telephone wires.
  • It was a little dangerous as we were worried that our oldest son might kick the soccer ball over the wire and set off the alarms.
  • Coaches end up teaching the teens how to kick a soccer ball, leap hurdles or swing a bat.
1.1A ball-shaped object: a ball of wool he crushed the card into a ball
More example sentences
  • Then they chew the fibrous fruit into a ball of pulp and spend ages sucking out the goodness.
  • It exploded in an orange ball of flame sending sand and metal fragments flying.
  • Suddenly the boat exploded into a great ball of flame, sending pieces of it skyward.
1.2 historical A solid nonexplosive missile for a firearm.
More example sentences
  • Also uncovered were musket balls, cannonballs, a grenade and tools.
  • Eight of the lead musket balls have been flattened from impact, while others show mold lines, indicating that they had never been used.
  • Michael Taylor says lead musket balls were made on the site and the team has found spills of molten lead that have formed small hollows in the ground.
Synonyms
bullet, pellet, slug, projectile
1.3North American A game played with a ball, especially baseball: kids have been playing ball in that lot for almost a hundred years
More example sentences
  • Every year pro ball bears less and less resemblance to the game collegians and kids play.
  • He has played only two full years of pro ball but probably will be ready for the majors within two years.
  • He fully realizes how rare it is to play high school, college, and pro ball in the same city.
2 Baseball A pitch delivered outside the strike zone that the batter does not attempt to hit: the umpire called it a ball
More example sentences
  • He lacks discipline at the plate and can often look bad swinging at balls outside the strike zone.
  • Jimmy threw the next two pitches outside for balls.
  • A lefthanded hitter, he has shown good power, aggressively attacking balls in the strike zone.
2.1 Sports A pass of a ball from one player to another: Whelan sent a long ball to Goddard
More example sentences
  • It could be frustrating for Rooney to go from Beckham dropping accurate balls over his shoulder to Everton players delivering wayward passes.
  • He is inspirational in the heart of midfield, slipping intelligent balls through to the strikers, and possess a fearsome shot.
  • He pounced on a loose ball to and passed to Duff who fed it through to Hasselbaink inside the penalty area.
3 (in full the ball of the foot) The rounded protuberant part of the foot at the base of the big toe.
More example sentences
  • High-heeled shoes force women to continually walk around on tiptoe, placing all the body weight on the ball of the foot and pushing the foot toward the toe of the shoe.
  • Both heel pain and heel spurs are frequently associated with inflammation of the band of tissue running along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot.
  • In cycling, it's known as ‘hot foot’ - a burning pain in the ball of the foot, perhaps radiating toward the toes.
3.1 (in full the ball of the thumb) The rounded protuberant part of the hand at the base of the thumb.
More example sentences
  • Some archers wear a thumb ring to protect the ball of the thumb from the string when it is released.
  • As a quick check the texture should be similar to that of the ball of the thumb of a closed fist.
  • Therefore, the ball of the thumb is often severely strained, especially when snowboarding.
4 (balls) vulgar slang Testicles.
4.1Courage or nerve.
More example sentences
  • This guy's got balls coming in here and singing this song.
  • I have to say I admire his balls.
4.2Nonsense; rubbish (often said to express strong disagreement).
More example sentences
  • In that case, my team prediction is complete balls.
  • It's all a load of balls, isn't it?

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1 (usually ball up) Squeeze or form (something) into a rounded shape: Robert balled up his napkin and threw it onto his plate
More example sentences
  • He grinned, balling the cloth napkin on the table and throwing it my way.
  • Unclasping the cloak, he caught it before it flew away and balled it untidily to tuck under his arm.
  • A moment later, I catch the dishrag she'd balled up and thrown at me.
1.1Clench or screw up (one’s fist) tightly: she balled her fist so that the nails dug into her palms
More example sentences
  • He balled his hands into fists, gritting his teeth tightly.
  • She balled her hands into fists at her sides and clenched her teeth with rage.
  • He yawned and stretched his arms out, balling his hands into fists.
1.2 [no object] Form a round shape: the fishing nets eventually ball up and sink
More example sentences
  • Tiny mussels balled around the oysters, keeping them small and making them unfit for market.
  • Closer and closer, the lightning force that was balling up in between the two was slowly moving its way towards Maddy.
  • The man gave a scream of agony, balling up to clutch at his injury.
1.3Wrap the rootball of (a tree or shrub) in burlap to protect it during transportation.
More example sentences
  • For container or balled & burlapped trees, carefully push a shovel under the root-ball and pry it upward while lifting up on the lower trunk.
  • Harvesting of balled, live trees may begin after completion of growth in late August or early September if soil moisture conditions are favorable.
  • Spring is best for planting, but you can put balled and burlapped or container grown hollies in the ground in early spring or fall.
2North American vulgar slang Have sexual intercourse with.

Origin

Middle English: from Old Norse bǫllr, of Germanic origin.

Phrases

balled up

Entangled; confused: I got slightly balled up in my facts
More example sentences
  • This gets balled up in a lot of really big societal issues very quickly.
  • Things must have got all balled up at head office.

the ball is in your court

It is up to you to make the next move.
More example sentences
  • I think it is a cop-out to blame the foot-dragging on others because the ball is in your court to get your act together.
  • With all this variety, the ball is in your court to select the best match to your personal requirements.
  • Next thing you know, this idea has taken hold of the executives’ hearts and minds, and the ball is in your court to pull off a winning tour.

a ball of fire

A person full of energy and enthusiasm.
More example sentences
  • If you know in your heart that you're a ball of fire, but just can't get off the couch in the evenings, you might want to look into your diet and exercise programs.
  • Rebecca is really energetic, she's a ball of fire.

keep the ball rolling

Maintain the momentum of an activity.
More example sentences
  • Her duty was to breezily keep the ball rolling, maintaining the appearance of a freewheeling, open dialogue while steering the topic in positive directions.
  • A bingo session on Wednesday and a quiz night on Thursday kept the ball rolling ahead of tomorrow's showcase event.
  • Mr Knight told the Evening Press today: ‘I hope I can keep the ball rolling on this.’

keep one's eye on (or take one's eye off) the ball

Keep (or fail to keep) one’s attention focused on the matter in hand.
More example sentences
  • But we have to stay fully focused and not take our eye off the ball.
  • I think it's important that it's used as a reality check for everyone so that they don't take their eye off the ball.
  • He took his eye off the ball and did not really appreciate that the client was manipulating him.

on the ball

Alert to new ideas, methods, and trends: maintaining contact with customers keeps me on the ball
More example sentences
  • It seems that Jim is really on the ball these days.
  • Luckily he was more on the ball and able to sort me out a disk.
  • When a customer complains, you need to be on the ball and get things done for them.
Indicating competence, alertness, or intelligence: a woman like that, with so much on the ball
More example sentences
  • I was even more amazed to find him personable, intelligent and on the ball.
  • He's also pushing eighty five, and while totally on the ball, surely not as sharp as he was in 1957.

play ball

Play a ball game such as baseball: we noticed some youngsters playing ball in a vacant lot
More example sentences
  • What ever happened to playing ball and then trading baseball cards until you had to go home?
  • Almost every kid in the U.S. played ball, and baseball players were treated like royalty.
  • Many times, though, he'd go home with red eyes after playing ball as a youngster.
informal Work willingly with others; cooperate: if his lawyers won’t play ball, there’s nothing we can do
More example sentences
  • But his officials believe the vice-chancellors are willing to play ball.
  • If the contractor is willing to play ball, then you can launch the project immediately.
  • We imagine they won't be willing to play ball on this front.
Baseball The umpire’s command to begin or resume play.
More example sentences
  • The batter must take her position in the batter's box within 10 seconds after the umpire has declared, "Play Ball."
  • Shouts of "play ball" ringing from the home plate umpire are only about a month away at Amgen Field in Thousand Oaks.

start (or get or set) the ball rolling

Set an activity in motion; make a start: to start the ball rolling, the government was asked to contribute a million dollars to the fund
More example sentences
  • The out-going General Manager has started the ball rolling!
  • I want our meeting in Waterford to set the ball rolling on the next generation of waste management policies - to find a better way of using our natural resources and managing our waste.
  • Using his own money and living in his parent's basement, he got the ball rolling on the organisation.

the whole ball of wax

North American informal Everything.
More example sentences
  • They had the perseverance to keep enlarging their vocabulary, their accuracy, their present, past and future verb tenses, the whole ball of wax.
  • However, his nominees suggest that he's going to go straight out and try to go for the whole ball of wax at first.
  • ‘The quintessential entrepreneur is someone who wants to put his hands around the whole ball of wax,’ says Kriss.

Phrasal verbs

ball (British balls) something up

Bungle something.
More example sentences
  • I well and truly went over board and completely balled it up.
  • Of course, there is also the possibility that you could write a truly outstanding speech, only to then completely balls it up when the time comes to deliver it!

Definition of ball in:

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Word of the day flippant
Pronunciation: ˈflipənt
adjective
not showing a serious or respectful attitude

There are 2 definitions of ball in English:

ball2

Syllabification: ball
Pronunciation: /bôl
 
/

noun

A formal social gathering for dancing: the social season was highlighted by debutante balls [as modifier]: a ball gown
More example sentences
  • I had many offers to balls and social gatherings but I had never accepted.
  • They were in great demand for hunt balls, ballroom dancing, weddings and other social gatherings.
  • An invitation to a formal dance or ball is the perfect excuse to indulge in your fairytale fantasies.
Synonyms
dance, dinner dance, masked ball, masquerade, formal, prom, baile
informal hop, bop

Origin

early 17th century: from French bal 'a dance', from late Latin ballare 'to dance'; related to Greek ballizein 'to dance' (also ballein 'to throw').

Phrases

have a ball

informal Enjoy oneself greatly; have a lot of fun: I had a ball on my fortieth birthday
More example sentences
  • The many young Spanish students who are in town over the past few weeks are having a ball and really enjoyed ‘Music Week’.
  • Despite the poor weather conditions on the day everyone enjoyed themselves and had a ball.
  • I suppose that some day Jamie and Craig will outgrow all this pretend play, but, for now, they are having a ball, enjoying each other's company and stretching their imaginations.

Definition of ball in: