American English

Definition of ball noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

      

    ball

     noun
    noun
    NAmE//bɔl//
     
     
    jump to other results
  1. 1a round object used for throwing, hitting, or kicking in games and sports a golf/tennis/soccer ball Bounce the ball and try to hit it over the net.
  2. 2a round object or an object that has been formed into a round shape The sun was a huge ball of fire low on the horizon. a ball of string Some animals roll themselves into a ball for protection.
  3. 3 a kick, hit, or throw of the ball in some sports He hit a foul ball.
  4. 4 (in baseball) a throw by the pitcher that is outside the strike zone (= the area between the batter's upper arms and knees)
  5. 5 ball of the foot/hand the part underneath the big toe or the thumb
  6. 6 a large formal party with dancing
  7. Idioms
    a ball and chain
     
    jump to other results
    a problem that prevents you from doing what you would like to do
    the ball is in your/somebody's court
     
    jump to other results
    it is your/someone's responsibility to take action next They've offered me the job, so the ball's in my court now.
    a ball of fire (informal)
     
    jump to other results
    a person who is full of energy and enthusiasm
    carry the ball (informal)
     
    jump to other results
    to take responsibility for getting something done My coworker was sick, so I had to carry the ball.
    drop the ball (informal)
     
    jump to other results
    to make a mistake and spoil something that you are responsible for Let's not drop the ball on this.
    get/set/start/keep the ball rolling
     
    jump to other results
    to make something start happening; to make sure that something continues to happen
    have a ball (informal)
     
    jump to other results
    to enjoy yourself a lot
    have something/a lot on the ball (informal)
     
    jump to other results
    to be capable of doing a job very well; to be intelligent
    (be) on the ball
     
    jump to other results
    to be aware of and understand what is happening and able to react quickly The new publicity manager is really on the ball.
    pick up/take the ball and run with it
     
    jump to other results
    to develop an idea or plan that already exists It's up to the private sector to take the ball and run with it. The mainstream media will pick up the ball and run with it. a challenge to other colleges to pick up the ball and run with it
      play ball (with somebody)
       
      jump to other results
    1. 1 to play with a ball Chris was in the park playing ball with the kids.
    2. 2(informal) to be willing to work with other people in a helpful way, especially so that someone can get what they want We contacted the airline about a refund but they wouldn't play ball.
    take your eye off the ball
     
    jump to other results
    to stop giving your attention to what is most important
    the whole ball of wax (informal)
     
    jump to other results
    the whole thing; everything I panicked, I cried—the whole ball of wax.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: ball