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."

Examples of ball and chain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It’s inspired by the silhouette of the fertility goddess and comes with a matching ottoman, resembling a ball and chain, which is rife with meaning. Talia Abbas, Glamour, 12 Sep. 2023 The muses for this enigmatic presence range from Paltrow (the indisputable leading avatar of this trend) and the Queen B to lawyer Amal Clooney and billionaire businesswoman Akshata Murthy, whose old ball and chain happens to be current British prime minister Rishi Sunak. Max Berlinger, Robb Report, 18 June 2023 Property taxes can be a ball and chain for San Antonio homeowners — especially in neighborhoods where property values have been rising fast. Marc Duvoisin, San Antonio Express-News, 27 Mar. 2023 Designed by Pesce, the infamous Up 5, a chair that resembles the lines of a female figure, and its sidekick, a literal ball and chain in the form of an ottoman, has recently been embraced by Hollywood set designers. Marissa Gluck, Los Angeles Times, 16 Feb. 2023

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

Dictionary Entries Near ball and chain

Cite this Entry

“Ball and chain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

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