Meaning of BALL in English
I. ball 1 S1 W2 /bɔːl $ bɒːl/ BrE AmE noun
[ Sense 1-7, 10-17: Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old Norse ; Origin: böllr ]
[ Sense 8-9: Date: 1600-1700 ; Language: French ; Origin: bal , from Old French baller 'to dance' , from Late Latin ballare , from Greek ballizein ]
1 . ROUND OBJECT [countable] 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
2 . ROUND SHAPE [countable] something formed or rolled into a round shape:
a ball of string
Shape the dough into balls.
3 . GAME/SPORT [uncountable] any game or sport played with a ball, especially baseball or ↑ basketball :
D'you want to go out and play ball?
Dad likes college 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 – now the ball’s in his court.
8 . FORMAL OCCASION [countable] 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) ↑ testicle s
I didn’t have the balls to ask.
c) British English spoken something that is stupid or wrong SYN nonsense :
That’s a load of balls!
⇨ ↑ balls 1
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 game of ↑ cricket or ↑ rounders
13 . BASEBALL no ball [countable] a ball that the hitter does not try to hit, because it is not within the correct area
14 . the whole ball of wax American English informal the whole thing SYN everything
15 . a ball of fire informal someone who has a lot of energy and enthusiasm
16 . 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.
17 . drop the ball ( also take your eye off the ball ) to make a mistake when dealing with something because you stop thinking carefully or paying attention
18 . 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
⇨ ↑ cannonball , ↑ crystal ball , ↑ wrecking ball , ⇨ play ball at ↑ play 1 (7)
• • •
▪ throw a ball
Suzy threw the ball to Matthew.
▪ catch a ball
He’s useless at sport; he can’t even catch a ball.
▪ hit a ball
He swung the bat back and hit the ball hard.
▪ kick a ball
Greg kicked the ball upfield to Will.
▪ bounce a ball
He was in the yard bouncing a ball against the wall.
▪ get the ball
Then the Cowboys got the ball again.
▪ miss a ball (=not catch or hit it)
I was trying hard but I kept missing the ball.
▪ a ball rolls
The ball just rolled past the hole.
▪ a ball flies/sails
The ball flew over the goalkeeper’s head and into the net.
▪ a ball bounces
In tennis, the ball must only bounce once.
▪ a ball rebounds (=hits something and moves back and away from it again)
The ball hit the goalpost and rebounded.
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + ball
▪ a tennis/cricket/golf/rugby etc ball
She was practising hitting golf balls.
▪ a ping-pong/billiard/snooker etc ball
He was bouncing around like a ping-pong ball.
▪ a beach ball (=a large light ball used on the beach)
Dad, will you blow up the beach ball?
■ ball + NOUN
▪ a ball game
He’s always watching ball games on TV.
▪ ball skills
Practising ball skills helps a child’s coordination.
II. ball 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]
1 . ( also ball up ) to make something form a small round shape:
Ray balled up his fists.
2 . American English informal not polite to have sex with a woman
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Longman - Словарь современного английского языка. 2012