from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A cocktail served in a tall glass and consisting of liquor, such as whiskey, mixed with water or a carbonated beverage.
  • noun A railroad signal indicating full speed ahead.
  • noun A high-speed train.
  • intransitive verb To move ahead at full speed.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A method of settling who shall pay for something, in which the numbered balls that are used in the game of pin-pool are thrown out from a receptacle, the highest ball winning and the lowest paying.
  • noun A ‘long drink,’ consisting of a modicum of whisky diluted with club soda or mineral water, and served with cracked ice in a tall glass.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An alcoholic beverage having a liquor such as whiskey mixed with water or a carbonated beverage, and usually served with ice in a tall glass.
  • noun (Railroads) A railroad track signal permitting the engineer to proceed at full speed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A cocktail made from spirit plus soda water etc.
  • noun rail transport An all clear or full speed ahead signal.
  • verb To make an estimate which tends toward exaggeration.
  • verb slang To move quickly; to hightail.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a mixed drink made of alcoholic liquor mixed with water or a carbonated beverage and served in a tall glass


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word highball.


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  • The telegraph operator at Half Way (merely a name for a station, for there was not a habitation in sight) thrust his long upper-length out of the telegraph office window one afternoon and waved a "highball" to the waiting electric locomotive on the sidetrack.

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  • Once barely sipping at wines, cocktails, brandy-and-soda, she now took to the latter, or, rather, to a new whisky-and-soda combination known as "highball" with a kind of vehemence which had little to do with a taste for the thing itself.

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  • It is served in a salt-rimmed highball glass with 3-5 ice cubes: 1.5 oz tequila, 1/2 ounce lime juice (or juice of 1/2 a small Mexican lime), 2 ounces sangrita and filled with grapefruit soda (Fresca or Squirt, sometimes omitted).

    Sangrita and sangria


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