eight ball


: a black pool ball numbered 8
: misfit
behind the eight ball
: in a highly disadvantageous position

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Eventually, Eno sank the eight ball. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, 2 May 2022 Many are behind the eight ball. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 While Gonsolin gave up just one run, his early exit helped put the team behind the eight ball for the rest of that game, which ended in a loss, and the series, which ended with a stunning four-game defeat a night later. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 18 Mar. 2023 During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sandler explained why his characters often find themselves behind the eight ball. Ryan Gajewski, The Hollywood Reporter, 30 Jan. 2023 The situation has been exacerbated by high inflation and staffing shortages that have put many shelters behind the eight ball in terms of addressing overpopulation. Marc Ramirez, USA TODAY, 22 Dec. 2022 But the screws already get tightened from all sides — women’s rights crusaders and women’s lib lobbyists take turns putting man back on his heels until he is pinned behind the eight ball dodging the shrapnel from the glass ceiling. Jody Rosen, Los Angeles Times, 27 Oct. 2022 Committing three turnovers in the first half that the Raiders (14-0) turned into touchdowns, the Pirates (11-3) were behind the eight ball early and couldn’t complete another comeback win against the disciplined Raiders defense. Matt Lofgren, cleveland, 18 Nov. 2022 On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, Nine kids a-barfing, an eight ball of cocaine, seven stripping Susans, six kinds of chutney, five hundred miles both ways! The Washington Post, 11 Dec. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'eight ball.' 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

1932, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of eight ball was in 1932

Dictionary Entries Near eight ball

Cite this Entry

“Eight ball.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eight%20ball. Accessed 29 May. 2023.

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