from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Rare spelling of time ball.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A ball dropped suddenly from the top of a staff prominently placed, as on the top of an observatory or of a church spire, for the purpose of indicating some exact moment of mean time previously determined upon—1 p. m. being that in general use in Great Britain, and noon in the United States.

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

  • n. a ball that slides down a staff to show a fixed time; especially at an observatory


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • In large towns, timekeepers would drop a "time-ball" at the top of a high tower.

    Archive 2005-03-01

  • And the men of lower Broadway hurrying along the walks, conscious of time and money, stopping at noon to check the precision of their big watches with Western Union's red time-ball — well, their faces were often abstracted; some were worried; some were greedy or anxious, others complacent and going-to-live-forever.

    Time and Again

  • Telegraph Hill and its semaphore and time-ball were features of business life.

    A Backward Glance at Eighty

  • The fork was wedged into a wooden support, and the platinum tip allowed to rest on lampblacked paper, wound about a metal cylinder, which was rotated by hand Time was given by a break-circuit clock, the rate of which was ascertained, by comparisons with Western Union time-ball, to be 9.87 seconds.

    Experimental Determination of the Velocity of Light Made at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis

  • However, the time-ball is finally showing its age and needs refurbishing to stop it falling further into decay.


  • But despite this, every afternoon a member of staff from James Ritchie & Son clockmakers, in Broughton Street, has walked up the 170 steps to the top of the Nelson Monument, hauled up the time-ball and lowered it at exactly 1pm.


  • The Admiralty call for estimates for a time-ball at Portsmouth: on receiving them they decline further proceeding. ”


  • On Dec. 6th the mast of the Observatory time-ball broke, and the Ball fell in the Front Court. ”


  • Councillor Donald Anderson, the city's culture and tourism leader, said: "The time-ball atop the Nelson Monument pre-dates the One o'Clock Gun at Edinburgh Castle and is an important part of the city's history.


  • As such, the council is happy to support the One o'Clock Gun Association in an application for lottery funding to ensure the time-ball continues to play its role in our daily lives. "



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