noun (1), often attributive
\ ˈbȯl \

Definition of ball

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1 : a round or roundish body or mass: such as
a : a spherical or ovoid body used in a game or sport a tennis ball used figuratively in phrases like the ball is in your court to indicate who has the responsibility or opportunity for further action
b : earth, globe
c : a spherical or conical projectile also : projectiles used in firearms
d : a roundish protuberant anatomical structure (as near the tip of a human finger or toe or at the base of a thumb) especially : the part of the sole of the human foot between the toes and arch on which the main weight of the body rests in normal walking
2a usually vulgar : testis

b balls plural

(1) often vulgar : nonsense often used interjectionally
(2) often vulgar : nerve sense 3
3 : a game in which a ball is thrown, kicked, or struck also : quality of play in such a game
4a : a pitch not swung at by the batter that fails to pass through the strike zone
b : a hit or thrown ball in various games foul ball
on the ball
1 : competent, knowledgeable, alert the other introductory essay … is much more on the ballThe Times Literary Supplement (London) keep on the ball
2 : of ability or competence if the teacher has something on the ball, the pupils won't squirm muchNew Yorker


balled; balling

Definition of ball (Entry 2 of 5)

transitive verb

1 : to form or gather into a ball balled the paper into a wad
2 usually vulgar : to have sexual intercourse with

intransitive verb

1 : to form or gather into a ball
2 usually vulgar : to engage in sexual intercourse
3 US, informal : to play basketball Common shot all his own scenes on the hardwood, balling against NBA superstars Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard.— Chris Richards


noun (2)

Definition of ball (Entry 3 of 5)

1 : a large formal gathering for social dancing
2 : a very pleasant experience : a good time everyone had a ball at the wedding


biographical name (1)
\ ˈbȯl \

Definition of Ball (Entry 4 of 5)

John died 1381 English priest and social agitator


biographical name (2)

Definition of Ball (Entry 5 of 5)

Lucille (Désirée) 1911–1989 American actress and comedienne

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Synonyms & Antonyms for ball

Synonyms: Verb

agglomerate, roll, round, wad

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of ball in a Sentence


I stood up quickly and balled my hands into fists. He balled the letter in his hands and threw it in the trash.

First Known Use of ball

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1577, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ball

Noun (1)

Middle English bal, probably from Old English *beall; akin to Old English bealluc testis, Old High German balla ball, Old Norse bǫllr, Old English blāwan to blow — more at blow

Noun (2)

French bal, from Old French, from baller to dance, from Late Latin ballare, from Greek ballizein

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Statistics for ball

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Time Traveler for ball

The first known use of ball was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for ball



English Language Learners Definition of ball

: to form (something) into a ball


\ ˈbȯl \

Kids Definition of ball

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : something round or roundish a ball of yarn
2 : a round or roundish object used in a game or sport
3 : a game or sport (as baseball) played with a ball
4 : a solid usually round shot for a gun
5 : the rounded bulge at the base of the thumb or big toe the ball of the foot
6 : a pitched baseball that is not hit and is not a strike


balled; balling

Kids Definition of ball (Entry 2 of 3)

: to make or come together into a ball He balled his fists.



Kids Definition of ball (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a large formal party for dancing
2 : a good time I had a ball at the wedding.


\ ˈbȯl \

Medical Definition of ball

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a round or roundish body or mass: as
a : a roundish protuberant part of the body: as
(1) : the rounded eminence by which the base of the thumb is continuous with the palm of the hand
(2) : the rounded broad part of the sole of the human foot between toes and arch and on which the main weight of the body first rests in normal walking
(3) : the padded rounded underside of a human finger or toe near the tip
b : eyeball
c often vulgar : testis
d : a large pill (as one used in veterinary medicine) : bolus

Medical Definition of ball (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give a medicinal ball to (as a horse)

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More from Merriam-Webster on ball

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ball

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ball

Spanish Central: Translation of ball

Nglish: Translation of ball for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ball for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ball

Comments on ball

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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