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ball

ball1 / bôl/ • n. 1. a solid or hollow sphere or ovoid, esp. one that is kicked, thrown, or hit in a game: a soccer ball. ∎  a ball-shaped object: a ball of wool he crushed the card into a ball. ∎ hist. a solid nonexplosive missile for a firearm. ∎  a game played with a ball, esp. baseball: young men would graduate from college and enter pro ball. 2. Baseball a pitch delivered outside the strike zone that the batter does not attempt to hit: the umpire called it a ball. ∎  Sports a pass of a ball from one player to another: Whelan sent a long ball to Goddard. 3. (in full the ball of the foot) the rounded protuberant part of the foot at the base of the big toe. 4. (balls) vulgar slang testicles. ∎  (ball) an act of sexual intercourse. ∎  courage or nerve. ∎  nonsense; rubbish (often said to express strong disagreement). • v. [tr.] 1. (usu. ball up) squeeze or form (something) into a rounded shape: Robert balled up his napkin and threw it on to his plate. ∎  clench or screw up (one's fist) tightly: she balled her fist so that the nails dug into her palms. ∎  [intr.] form a round shape: the fishing nets eventually ball up and sink. 2. vulgar slang have sexual intercourse with. PHRASES: balled up 1. formed into a ball. 2. entangled; confused: I got slightly balled up in my facts. the ball is in your court it is up to you to make the next move. a ball of fire a person full of energy and enthusiasm. keep the ball rolling maintain the momentum of an activity. keep one's eye on the ball keep one's attention focused on the matter in hand. on the ball alert to new ideas, methods, and trends: maintaining contact with customers keeps me on the ball. play ball inf. work willingly with others; cooperate: if his lawyers won't play ball, there's nothing we can do. 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. the whole ball of wax inf. everything. ball2 • n. a formal social gathering for dancing: the social season was highlighted by debutante balls | [as adj.] a ball gown. PHRASES: have a ball inf. enjoy oneself greatly; have a lot of fun: I had a ball on my fortieth birthday.

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ball

ball ball and chain a heavy metal ball secured by a chain to the leg of a prisoner to prevent escape; used figuratively to convey the idea that someone or something is a crippling encumbrance.
ball-flower an architectural ornament resembling a ball within the petals of a flower.
the ball is in someone's court it is that particular person's turn to act next. The metaphor comes from tennis or a similar ball game where different players use particular areas of a marked court.
ball of fire a person who is full of energy and enthusiasm. Recorded in this sense from the mid 20th century, although earlier in literal use. In the 19th century, ball of fire was also a slang term for a glass of brandy.
a whole new ball game a completely new set of circumstances. Originally North American, referring to a game of baseball.

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Ball

Ball

a round or roundish body or mass. See also clew, globe, orb.

Examples: balls [rings] of cowslips, daisies, 1648; of fire; of nutmegs, 1583; of rosemary [750 Ibs], 1796; of twine, 1841; of wool, 1884; of yarn, 1572; of live crabs, 1875.

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ball

ball2 assembly for dancing. XVII. — (O)F. bal dance, f. †baler to dance — late L. ballāre — Gr. ballízein.

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ball

ball1 globular body. XIII. perh. — ON. bǫllr, ball- :- Gmc. *balluz.

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ball

ballall, appal (US appall), awl, Bacall, ball, bawl, befall, Bengal, brawl, call, caul, crawl, Donegal, drawl, drywall, enthral (US enthrall), fall, forestall, gall, Galle, Gaul, hall, haul, maul, miaul, miscall, Montreal, Naipaul, Nepal, orle, pall, Paul, pawl, Saul, schorl, scrawl, seawall, Senegal, shawl, small, sprawl, squall, stall, stonewall, tall, thrall, trawl, wall, waul, wherewithal, withal, yawl •carryall • blackball • handball •patball • hardball • netball • baseball •paintball • speedball • heelball •meatball • stickball • pinball • spitball •racquetball • basketball • volleyball •eyeball, highball •oddball • softball • mothball •korfball • cornball •lowball, no-ball, snowball •goalball •cueball, screwball •goofball • stoolball • football •puffball • punchball • fireball •rollerball • cannonball • butterball •catchall • bradawl • holdall • Goodall

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