from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A spherical object or entity: a steel ball.
  • n. A spherical or almost spherical body: a ball of flame.
  • n. Sports Any of various rounded, movable objects used in various athletic activities and games.
  • n. Sports Such an object moving, thrown, hit, or kicked in a particular manner: a low ball; a fair ball.
  • n. Sports A game, especially baseball or basketball, played with such an object.
  • n. Sports A pitched baseball that does not pass through the strike zone and is not swung at by the batter.
  • n. A solid spherical or pointed projectile, such as one shot from a cannon.
  • n. Projectiles of this kind considered as a group.
  • n. A rounded part or protuberance, especially of the body: the ball of the foot.
  • n. Vulgar Slang The testicles.
  • n. Vulgar Slang Courage, especially when reckless.
  • n. Vulgar Slang Great presumptuousness.
  • transitive v. To form into a ball.
  • transitive v. Vulgar Slang To have sexual intercourse with.
  • intransitive v. To become formed into a ball.
  • intransitive v. Vulgar Slang To have sexual intercourse.
  • ball up To confuse; bungle.
  • idiom on the ball Informal Alert, competent, or efficient: a teacher who is really on the ball.
  • idiom on the ball Informal Relating to qualities, such as competence, skill, or knowledge, that are necessary for success: a manager who has a lot on the ball; a student who has nothing on the ball.
  • n. A formal gathering for social dancing.
  • n. Informal An extremely enjoyable time or experience: We had a ball during our vacation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A solid or hollow sphere.
  • n. An object, generally spherical, used for playing games.
  • n. A quantity of string, thread, etc., wound into a spherical shape.
  • n. Any simple game involving a ball.
  • n. A pitch that falls outside of the strike zone.
  • n. An opportunity to launch the pinball into play.
  • n. A solid, spherical nonexplosive missile for a cannon, etc.
  • n. A jacketed non-expanding bullet, typically of military origin.
  • n. The set of points in a metric space lying within a given distance (the radius) of a given point; specifically, the homologue of the disk in a Euclidean space of any number of dimensions.
  • n. The set of points in a topological space lying within some open set containing a given point; the analogue of the disk in a Euclidean space.
  • n. A testicle.
  • n. A single delivery by the bowler, six of which make up an over.
  • n. A pass; a kick of the football towards a teammate.
  • n. The front of the bottom of the foot, just behind the toes.
  • n. A formal dance.
  • v. To have sexual intercourse with.
  • v. To be hip or cool.
  • interj. An appeal by the crowd for holding the ball against a tackled player. This is heard almost any time an opposition player is tackled, without regard to whether the rules about "prior opportunity" to dispose of the ball are fulfilled.
  • n. A formal dance.
  • n. A very enjoyable time.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any round or roundish body or mass; a sphere or globe.
  • n. A spherical body of any substance or size used to play with, as by throwing, knocking, kicking, etc.
  • n. A general name for games in which a ball is thrown, kicked, or knocked. See Baseball, and Football.
  • n. Any solid spherical, cylindrical, or conical projectile of lead or iron, to be discharged from a firearm; ; -- often used collectively. Spherical balls for the smaller firearms are commonly called bullets.
  • n. A flaming, roundish body shot into the air; a case filled with combustibles intended to burst and give light or set fire, or to produce smoke or stench.
  • n. A leather-covered cushion, fastened to a handle called a ballstock; -- formerly used by printers for inking the form, but now superseded by the roller.
  • n. A roundish protuberant portion of some part of the body.
  • n. A large pill, a form in which medicine is commonly given to horses; a bolus.
  • n. The globe or earth.
  • n. A pitched ball, not struck at by the batter, which fails to pass over the home plate at a height not greater than the batter's shoulder nor less than his knee (i.e. it is outside the strike zone). If the pitcher pitches four balls before three strikes are called, the batter advances to first base, and the action of pitching four balls is called a walk.
  • n. a testicle; usually used in the plural.
  • n. courage; nerve.
  • n. A social assembly for the purpose of dancing; -- usually applied to an occasion lavish or formal.
  • n. A very enjoyable time.
  • intransitive v. To gather balls which cling to the feet, as of damp snow or clay; to gather into balls.
  • transitive v. To heat in a furnace and form into balls for rolling.
  • transitive v. To form or wind into a ball.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make into a ball. Specifically—
  • To surround in a compact cluster, as bees when they surround the queen bee.
  • To form or gather into a ball, as snow on horses' hoofs, or mud on the feet.
  • To remain in a solid mass instead of scattering: said of shot discharged from a gun.
  • To fail; miscarry.
  • To take part in a ball; dance.
  • An obsolete form of bawl.
  • n. A spherical or approximately spherical body; a sphere; a globe: as, a ball of snow, of thread, of twine, etc. Specifically
  • n. A round or nearly round body, of different materials and sizes, for use in various games, as base-ball, foot-ball, cricket, tennis, billiards, etc.
  • n. A game played with a ball, especially base-ball or any modification of it.
  • n. A toss or throw of a ball in a game: as, a swift ball; a high or low ball.
  • n. In base-ball, a pitch such that the ball fails to pass over the home-plate not higher than the shoulder nor lower than the knees of the striker: as, the pitcher is allowed five balls by the rules of the game.
  • n. A small spherical body of wood or ivory used in voting by ballot. See ballot and blackball.
  • n. The missile or projectile thrown from a firearm or other engine of war; a bullet or cannon-ball, whether spherical (as originally) or conical or cylindrical (as now commonly); in artillery, a solid projectile, as distinguished from a hollow one called a shell (which see).
  • n. Projectiles, and more particularly bullets, collectively: as, to supply a regiment with powder and ball; the troops were ordered to load with ball.
  • n. In printing, a rounded mass or cushion of hair or wool, covered with soft leather or skin, and fastened to a stock called a ball-stock, used (generally in pairs, one for each hand) before the invention of the roller to ink type on the press: still in use by wood-engravers, but made of smaller size, and with a silk instead of a leather face.
  • n. A clew or cop of thread, twine, or yarn.—
  • n. A spherical piece of soap.
  • n. A rounded package; a bale.
  • n. In metallurgy, one of the masses of iron, weighing about 80 pounds, into which, in the process of converting pig-iron into wrought-iron by puddling, the iron in the reverberatory furnace is made up as soon as it begins to assume a pasty condition.
  • n. In medicine, a bolus; a large pill: now only in veterinary medicine.
  • n. In pyrotechnics, a globular mass of combustible ingredients, or a case filled with them, designed to set fire to something or to give forth light, etc.; a fireball.
  • n. In cabinet-work, the composition of shoemakers' wax used in waxing black-work.
  • n. Any part of a thing, especially of the human body, that is rounded or protuberant: as, the ball of the eye; the ball of the thumb; the ball of a dumb-bell; the ball of a pendulum, that is, the bob or weight at the bottom.
  • n. The central hollow of the palm of the hand.
  • n. The central part of an animal's foot.
  • n. A testicle: generally in the plural.
  • n. A hand-tool with a rounded end arranged for cutting hollow forms.
  • n. A round valve in an inclosed chamber, operated by the flow of the liquid through the chamber; a ball-valve.
  • n. In lapidary-work, a small spherical grinder of lead used in hollowing out the under side of certain stones, as carbuncles, to make them thinner and thus more transparent.
  • n. The globe; the earth.
  • n. [A globe representing the earth is a common symbol of sovereignty; hence Bacon has the phrase to hold the ball of a kingdom, in the sense of to bear sovereignty over it.]
  • n. A dance; dancing.
  • n. A social assembly of persons of both sexes for the purpose of dancing.
  • n. A white streak or spot.
  • n. A horse or nag (originally, white-faced): used appellatively, like dun, bayard.
  • n. An obsolete form of bal.
  • n. In the manufacture of soda by the Leblanc process, the batch of pasty material produced by heating together sodium sulphate or salt-cake, calcium carbonate (limestone or chalk), and coal as discharged from the furnace.
  • n. In architecture, a spherical ornament.
  • n. plural Iron ore occurring in balls or nodules. Also ball-ironstone.
  • n. A belt of sand a short distance offshore on which waves break in rough weather.

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

  • n. the game of baseball
  • n. round object that is hit or thrown or kicked in games
  • n. United States comedienne best known as the star of a popular television program (1911-1989)
  • n. a more or less rounded anatomical body or mass
  • n. an object with a spherical shape
  • n. a lavish dance requiring formal attire
  • n. one of the two male reproductive glands that produce spermatozoa and secrete androgens
  • n. a pitch that is not in the strike zone
  • n. the people assembled at a lavish formal dance
  • v. form into a ball by winding or rolling
  • n. a solid projectile that is shot by a musket
  • n. a compact mass
  • n. a spherical object used as a plaything


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English bal, probably from Old English *beall; see bhel-2 in Indo-European roots.
French bal, from Old French, from baller, to dance, from Late Latin ballāre, from Greek ballizein; see gwelə- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English bal, ball, balle, from Old English *beall, *bealla ("round object, ball") or Old Norse bǫllr ("a ball") (whence the Icelandic böllur ("scrotum; penis; a ball")), both from Proto-Germanic *balluz, *ballô (“ball”), from Proto-Indo-European *bholn- (“bubble”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhel- (“to blow, inflate, swell”). Cognate with Old Saxon ball, Dutch bal, Old High German bal, ballo (German Ball ("ball"); Ballen ("bale")). Related forms in Romance are borrowings from Germanic. See also balloon, bale.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French bal, from Late Latin ballare.



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