air·​ball | \ ˈer-ˌbȯl How to pronounce airball (audio) \
variants: or air-ball
airballed or air-balled; airballing or air-balling; airballs or air-balls

Definition of airball

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive + intransitive

US, basketball
: to completely miss the rim and backboard with a shot : to shoot an air ball Fesenko … badly airballed a free throw in the first quarter.— Ross Siler

air ball

variants: or airball \ ˈer-​ˌbȯl How to pronounce air ball (audio) \
plural air balls or airballs

Definition of air ball (Entry 2 of 2)

US, basketball
: a shot that completely misses the rim and backboard

Examples of airball in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hayward made one free throw and airballed the second, completing the 11-0 run. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, 25 Mar. 2020 This time Rebels guard Devontae Shuler airballed a 3 with 7.5 seconds left, and Quickley answered with two free throws for a 65-62 lead. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, 15 Feb. 2020 After Antetokounmpo split a pair of free throws -- airballing the first -- to put the Bucks up by nine with under 2 1/2 minutes left, Warriors guard Damion Lee drew a foul on a three-pointer and sank all three shots. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 Jan. 2020 Giannis Antetokounmpo airballed a free throw and a three-pointer within minutes of each other down the stretch. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 Jan. 2020 Walker airballed his final shot to tie the score with a 3 as Warren contested. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, 11 Dec. 2019 The chants only got louder after Cumberland airballed another 3-pointer minutes later. J.l. Kirven,, 7 Dec. 2019 In the second half of Team Freeze's overtime win over Team Roots, Nunez airballed an open 3-pointer. J.l. Kirven, Detroit Free Press, 4 July 2019 Right before halftime, the Bucks superstar airballed a free throw and his team had been sloppy, committing 11 first-half turnovers. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For investors in sports betting stocks, however, March Madness has been a bit of, well, an air ball. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 24 Mar. 2022 Bradley then shot an air ball after appearing to be fouled … but Keshad Johnson grabbed the rebound and fired to the perimeter to Butler, who drained a 3 for a 57-56 lead with 13.9 seconds left. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Feb. 2022 On the next trip, Lynch shrugged off her first air ball by scoring off an inbounds play. Bob Narang,, 23 Dec. 2021 But Diabate was fearless and attacked Cockburn on Michigan’s first two offensive possessions, scoring down the right side of the lane after tossing up an air ball from the left. Michael Cohen, Detroit Free Press, 15 Jan. 2022 Peddy scored driving the lane and after a Courtney Williams air ball was fouled by Elizabeth Williams with 3.8 seconds left above the key. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, 8 Sep. 2021 Hawkins looked flustered and the crowd seemed to affect his shot causing an air ball or two. Shreyas Laddha,, 10 Dec. 2021 But the Bulls battled back from a 13-point deficit with a little more than two minutes left and had a chance to win before DeRozan’s air ball as time expired. Paul Sullivan,, 30 Oct. 2021 Instead of being stuck on the air ball, Lakhin followed his shot and found his way into the paint. Keith Jenkins, The Enquirer, 15 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'airball.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of airball


1975, in the meaning defined above


1967, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for airball

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The first known use of airball was in 1967

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air ball

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Cite this Entry

“Airball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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