hardball

noun
hard·​ball | \ ˈhärd-ˌbȯl How to pronounce hardball (audio) \

Definition of hardball

1 : baseball
2 : forceful uncompromising methods employed to gain an end played political hardball

Examples of hardball in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Unless political polarization and constitutional hardball somehow abates, rather than worsens, by 2021, the Republican caucus is quite likely to adopt a similar strategy then. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "The Senate is a huge problem for Democrats," 8 Nov. 2018 The Swiss have complained that the EU is employing hardball tactics by turning a technical arrangement on market access into a political tool. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "Amid Brexit Drama, EU Flexes Its Muscles With Swiss," 1 Dec. 2018 And consider the left’s attitude toward Robert Mueller, who has used hardball prosecutorial tactics to secure criminal convictions against Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort and other associates of President Trump. Jason Willick, WSJ, "Kamala Harris for the Prosecution," 21 Jan. 2019 Davis, though, argues that what is happening in 2018 is nothing more than the usual end-of-campaign-season hardball politicking. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, The Seattle Times, "Two years and hundreds of inflammatory ads later, the G.O.P. is the party of Trump," 6 Nov. 2018 This kind of hardball bargaining will only become more common as more and more entertainment companies start to consolidate with network owners. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "AT&T and Dish’s HBO battle is the bleak future of cable and streaming," 2 Nov. 2018 The company has also played hardball with theater chains like AMC, using strategic public statements, misleading data, and its growing subscriber base to force businesses to the negotiating table. Nick Statt, The Verge, "MoviePass is opting some users into its new plan even after they cancel," 14 Aug. 2018 For months, the president has insisted that his escalating tariff campaign was a hardball negotiating tactic in pursuit of expanding global commerce, not a plan to restrict it. Jacob M. Schlesinger, WSJ, "Trump Shifts Trade Tactics With an Olive Branch," 25 July 2018 Threats of blackouts are common during contract negotiations, and Mr. Ergen has a history of playing hardball. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Justice’s AT&T Vendetta," 4 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hardball.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hardball

1857, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hardball

Statistics for hardball

Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hardball

The first known use of hardball was in 1857

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hardball

hardball

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hardball

chiefly US, informal
: forceful and sometimes dishonest methods used to get something you want

More from Merriam-Webster on hardball

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hardball

Spanish Central: Translation of hardball

Comments on hardball

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to boil down or concentrate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!