hard·​ball ˈhärd-ˌbȯl How to pronounce hardball (audio)
: forceful uncompromising methods employed to gain an end
played political hardball

Examples of hardball in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Real and enduring damage can come if political hardball tactics bring about a shutdown that lasts for months. Richard Vague, Fortune, 27 Sep. 2023 Best Buy is playing hardball with Amazon's October Prime Day 2023 tech sale. Kate Gibson, CBS News, 11 Oct. 2023 Meta played hardball, not only banning news links from being shared across Facebook but also stopping users from posting links to non-news sites such as official government health pages—during the pandemic. Nicole Kobie, WIRED, 11 Sep. 2023 Kohlrabi, for example, taste best when baseball size, as in hardball, not softball. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, 6 July 2023 Mario, for instance, was excluded from the collection by Nintendo’s contractual hardball, and another was omitted because nobody could determine who owned its copyright. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 30 June 2023 Many suggested that head coach Xavi Hernandez should make Dembele watch the rest of the season from the stands as punishment for the 25-year-old and his representative Moussa Sissoko playing hardball in negotiations. Tom Sanderson, Forbes, 1 Apr. 2023 This new crop of diplomats is playing hardball, Cheng says, pushing controversial CCP narratives and countering foreign criticism. Jamie McIntyre, Washington Examiner, 7 July 2020 The lesson for his enemies is perhaps not to mistake Mr. Starmer’s courteous and mild-mannered bearing — or absence of fanfare — for a lack of willingness to play political hardball. Stephen Castle, New York Times, 7 Apr. 2023 See More

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

1857, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hardball was in 1857

Dictionary Entries Near hardball

Cite this Entry

“Hardball.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hardball. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


hard·​ball -ˌbȯl How to pronounce hardball (audio)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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