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


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, "Butler 2010 rewind: Late 3s carry Bulldogs past top-seeded Syracuse," 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, "Big second half from Immanuel Quickley salvages Kentucky basketball a win over Ole Miss," 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, "Bucks 107, Warriors 98: It's ugly, but it's still a victory," 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, "Bucks 107, Warriors 98: It's ugly, but it's still a victory," 9 Jan. 2020 Walker airballed his final shot to tie the score with a 3 as Warren contested. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Pacers post signature victory in coming back to knock off Boston Celtics," 11 Dec. 2019 The chants only got louder after Cumberland airballed another 3-pointer minutes later. J.l. Kirven,, "What we learned: UC Bearcats struggle in loss to Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout," 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, "Why Moneyball Pro-Am will get a taste of the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry," 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, "Bucks 121, Thunder 119: Milwaukee holds on to finish the job," 10 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Edney, the legs and punch of this team all season, sprained his right wrist Saturday against Oklahoma State, did not participate in early warm-ups Monday and shot a lifeless air ball from five feet away in his only pregame shot. Tim Kawakami, Los Angeles Times, "Looking back at UCLA’s victory over Arkansas for 1995 NCAA title," 6 Apr. 2020 Before Cristian Jackson got warmed up, Bowling Green and Akron struggled from the field behind a mixture of air balls and rushed shots in the first half. Branson Wright, cleveland, "Akron’s 74-59 victory over Bowling Green moves Zips a half-game out of first place in MAC East," 12 Feb. 2020 Deer Park’s defense sat back and watched the Wildcats shoot an air ball, another Wildcat leaped into the air, saving the ball from going out of bounds. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Deer Park headed to Division II Gold bracket after 57-38 triumph," 21 Nov. 2019 In a game filled with air balls, messy defensive scrambles and poor form in boxing out defenders in the paint for rebounds, the Baltimore region team pulled away late and played tough defense to hold on to the lead. Phil Davis,, "Legislative layups: Baltimore dignitaries top Prince George’s, Montgomery foes in charitable basketball game," 26 Aug. 2019 His teammates, however, opened the game a combined 0 of 4 from the field, including an air ball on a 3-point attempt by Draymond Green. Scott Cacciola, New York Times, "How the Raptors Won Game 3 of the N.B.A. Finals," 5 June 2019 Carr air balled a 3-pointer from the right wing, but Jamari Wheeler grabbed the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Garner, who nailed a corner 3. USA TODAY, "Garner, Carr help Penn State beat Illinois 74-52," 11 Feb. 2018 To Jay Bilas, the Commission on College Basketball headed by Condoleezza Rice didn’t shoot an air ball. Blair Kerkhoff, kansascity, "Jay Bilas in KC: Rice Commission 'didn't do anything' | The Kansas City Star," 16 May 2018 Rozier hit a trio of three-pointers in the first quarter but took a heat-check attempt from distance that air balled with fewer than 30 seconds left in the quarter, and the Bucks were able to get back within 2 points at the first break, 24-22. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Seven moments to remember from the final game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center," 29 Apr. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for airball

Cite this Entry

“Airball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for airball

air ball


English Language Learners Definition of air ball

basketball : a shot that completely misses the basket

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