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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

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

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variants or airball
plural air balls or airballs
US, basketball
: a shot that completely misses the rim and backboard

Examples of airball in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Purdue basketball falls on wrong side of history with loss to 16-seed FDU Reaction:Another Purdue March meltdown: 'What an embarrassment' Closing minute Fletcher Loyer airballs a 3 and Purdue fouls. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, 18 Mar. 2023 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
Clark even shot an air ball from the left wing, to the delight of the crowd. Noah Trister, USA TODAY, 4 Feb. 2024 So, by citing this program, Murphy shot an air ball. Ricardo Torres, Journal Sentinel, 17 Jan. 2024 The Hoosiers started the game 3-for-15 from 3-point range, including air balls from three different players. Gregg Doyel, The Indianapolis Star, 10 Jan. 2024 Rice was in foul trouble all game and finished with four points on 1 of 8 shooting (with two air balls). Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Jan. 2024 Focusing on Curry’s time at Davidson College, director Peter Nicks forgoes making a 110-minute career highlight reel and instead examines how a kid who was considered too small for the NBA, who shot air balls in his first game as a college freshman, defied what any algorithm could have predicted. WIRED, 27 July 2023 Buie threw up air balls on back-to-back 3s at one point and shot three air balls in the half, finishing with eight points in the session. Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune, 10 Mar. 2023 His final shot in this one was an air ball. Tom Noie, The Indianapolis Star, 22 Mar. 2021 His first 3-point attempt was an air ball. Wilson Moore, The Indianapolis Star, 7 Oct. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'airball.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1975, in the meaning defined above


1967, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of airball was in 1967

Dictionary Entries Near airball

Cite this Entry

“Airball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

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