Definition of ball noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//bɔːl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɔːl//
    Body parts
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  1. 1  a round object used for throwing, hitting or kicking in games and sports a golf/tennis/cricket ball Bounce the ball and try and hit it over the net.
  2. 2  a round object or a thing 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. 3a kick, hit or throw of the ball in some sports He sent over a high 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. 5ball of the foot/hand the part underneath the big toe or the thumb See related entries: Body parts
  6. 6[usually plural] (taboo, informal) a testicle see also balls
  7. 7a large formal party with dancing
  8. Word Originnoun senses 1 to 6 Middle English: from Old Norse bǫllr, of Germanic origin. noun sense 7 early 17th cent.: from French bal ‘a dance’, from late Latin ballare ‘to dance’; related to Greek ballizein ‘to dance’ (also ballein ‘to throw’).Extra examples He pounced on a loose ball and scored. He screwed the letter up into a tight ball. He was penalized for hand ball. He’s an excellent ball handler. His ball control was excellent. Oh no! He’s dropped the ball. She chased the ball all over the pitch. She met him at the ball. The ball flew over the bar into the sea of Middlesbrough fans. The ball flew over the fence. The ball hit me on the head. The ball hit the wall and rolled along the road. The catcher missed the ball. The fielders try to retrieve the ball quickly and return it to the bowler. The kids love to kick a ball against my wall. The little girl curled up into a ball in her mother’s arms. The plot throws a few curve balls along the way to keep you guessing. The responsibility was a ball and chain around my ankle. The sun was a fiery ball, low on the hills. We’re going to a masked ball. We’re organizing a charity ball. Without a crystal ball it’s impossible to say where we’ll be next year. a great ball from Beckham a superb through ball from John Scott They’re holding a charity ball at the end of the month. They’ve hired a 10-piece band for the summer ball. You shall go to the ball, Cinderella!Idioms a problem that prevents you from doing what you would like to do
    the ball is in your/somebody’s court
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    it is your/somebody’s responsibility to take action next They've offered me the job, so the ball's in my court now.
    (informal) a person who is full of energy and enthusiasm (US English, informal) to take responsibility for getting something done My co-worker was sick, so I had to carry the ball. (North American English, informal) 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
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    to make something start happening; to make sure that something continues to happen
    (informal) to enjoy yourself a lot
    have something/a lot on the ball
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    (US English, informal) to be capable of doing a job very well; to be intelligent
    keep your eye on the ball
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    to continue to give your attention to what is most important
    to be aware of and understand what is happening and able to react quickly The new publicity manager is really on the ball. See related entries: Clever
    pick up/take the ball and run with it
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    (especially North American English) 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 universities to pick up the ball and run with it
      play ball (with somebody)
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    1. 1(North American English) 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 somebody can get what they want We contacted the airline about a refund but they wouldn’t play ball.
    (North American English, informal) the whole thing; everything I panicked, I cried—the whole ball of wax.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: ball