ball and chain

noun

Definition of ball and chain

: something that limits one's freedom or ability to do things Drugs are a ball and chain for many people. (old-fashioned) He referred to his wife as "the ball and chain."

Learn More about ball and chain

Statistics for ball and chain

Cite this Entry

“Ball and chain.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ball%20and%20chain. Accessed 14 December 2019.

Comments on ball and chain

What made you want to look up ball and chain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to assail by words or arguments

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!