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 John Nimick, a hardball pro in the 1980s, marvels at how the Egyptians have changed squash. New York Times, 4 May 2022 As the above evidence suggests, the youthful Guardians, in their maiden season under their new nickname, are somewhat of a hardball hodgepodge. Jim Ingraham, Forbes, 23 May 2022 But Google is still reportedly asking hardball questions. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 28 Apr. 2022 Politics is a hardball game, but hampering the care of innocent children is just cruel. orlandosentinel.com, 18 Feb. 2022 Predictably, too, the chorus of horror, alarm, and panic over gerrymandering has begun to quiet, now that Democrats have reverted to their ancestral pattern of playing more hardball than Republicans do. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, 11 Feb. 2022 But playing real hardball would have looked a bit different. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 20 Dec. 2021 There were no hard feelings, only serious hardball in a game in which the Dodgers scratched and scraped and hung in there until their October magic reappeared and blasted its way over the left-field fence. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 6 Oct. 2021 But progressives cheered the postponement, declaring their hardball tactics a success. New York Times, 30 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of hardball

1857, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About hardball

Time Traveler for hardball

Time Traveler

The first known use of hardball was in 1857

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near hardball



hard-bark hickory

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for hardball

Cite this Entry

“Hardball.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hardball. Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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