ball1 W2S1 [bo:l US bo:l] n
1¦(round object)¦
2¦(round shape)¦
5 on the ball
6 set/start/keep the ball rolling
7 the ball is in somebody's court
8¦(formal occasion)¦
9 have a ball
10 balls
11 a fast/good/long etc ball
14 the whole ball of wax
15 a ball of fire
16 ball-buster/ball-breaker
17 keep several/too many etc balls in the air
[Sense: 1-7, 10-17; Date: 1200-1300; : Old Norse; Origin: böllr]
[Sense: 8-9; Date: 1600-1700; : French; Origin: bal, from Old French baller 'to dance', from Late Latin ballare, from Greek ballizein]
a round object that is thrown, kicked, or hit in a game or sport
throw/hit/kick/catch etc a ball
Weiskopf hit the ball 330 yards and a cheer went up.
a tennis/golf/cricket etc ball
something formed or rolled into a round shape
a ball of string
Shape the dough into balls.
3.) ¦(GAME/SPORT)¦[U]
any game or sport played with a ball, especially baseball or ↑basketball
D'you want to go out and play ball ?
Dad's downstairs watching some ball.
4.) ¦(FOOT/HAND)¦
the ball of the foot/hand
the rounded part of the foot at the base of the toes, or the rounded part of the hand at the base of the thumb
5.) on the ball informal
able to think or act quickly and intelligently
an assistant who's really on the ball
6.) set/start/keep the ball rolling
to start something happening
To start the ball rolling, the government was asked to contribute £1 million.
7.) the ball is in sb's court
it is their turn to take action or to reply
I've emailed him twice - now the ball's in his court.
a large formal occasion at which people dance
9.) have a ball informal
to have a very good time
10.) balls [plural] informal not polite
a) ↑testicles
b) courage
I didn't have the balls to ask.
c) BrE spoken something that is stupid or wrong
That's a load of balls!
11.) a fast/good/long etc ball
a ball that is thrown, hit, or kicked fast etc in a game or sport
He hit a long ball to right field.
12.) ¦(CRICKET)¦
no ball
a ball that is thrown too high, low etc towards someone trying to hit it, in the games of ↑cricket or ↑rounders
13.) ¦(BASEBALL)¦
a ball that the hitter does not try to hit, because it is not within the correct area
14.) the whole ball of wax
AmE informal the whole thing
15.) a ball of fire informal
someone who has a lot of energy and enthusiasm
16.) ball-buster/ball-breaker informal
a) a problem that is very difficult to deal with
b) an offensive word for a woman who uses her authority over men
17.) keep several/too many etc balls in the air
to struggle to deal with more than one problem or job at the same time
The company just won't be able to keep that many balls in the air.
→↑cannonball, crystal ball, wrecking ball,play ball atplay1 (7)
ball 2
ball2 v [T]
1.) also ball up
to make something form a small round shape
Ray balled up his fists, ready to fight.
2.) AmE informal not polite to have sex with a woman

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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