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

Noted hardball sages across the land nodded and agreed that the Sox had finally turned their season around. Dan Shaughnessy, BostonGlobe.com, "Weak week has disappointing Red Sox season at its nadir," 4 Aug. 2019 Syndergaard, meantime, played old-fashioned country hardball with Giants hitters. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "Giants’ Madison Bumgarner sparkles, Donovan Solano gets decisive hit in 16-inning win," 19 July 2019 Growing up with a father who’s one of the most successful baseball coaches in Texas college history, Rockies infield prospect Ryan Vilade was basically raised in a hardball incubator. Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post, "Get a whiff of America at one of these Denver metro sporting events tonight," 4 July 2019 At the time, Marvel’s arachnid action hero was played by Tobey Maguire, who decided, after the release of the first Spiderman film, to play hardball about signing a longer contract with the studio. Vogue, "Leave Jake Gyllenhaal’s Gold Chain Alone," 27 June 2019 Opponents also accuse the company of using hardball tactics and intimidation to force reluctant landowners to sign easements, and specifically targeting vulnerable and elderly landowners with threats of eminent domain. oregonlive.com, "Jordan Cove LNG backers claim high support from landowners for pipeline," 26 June 2019 Yet Republicans such as McConnell have more recently been in control and ready to play hardball, partly as retribution for Bork and Estrada. Joan Biskupic, Washington Post, "The partisan players transforming the Supreme Court," 21 June 2019 As a professional sports gambler, his hardball tactics of vacuuming up the highest-value clues and wagering huge amounts on Daily Double and Final Jeopardy became must-see TV. Emily Yahr, chicagotribune.com, "'Jeopardy!' producer: 'Appropriate' action planned in leak of James Holzhauer's loss," 4 June 2019 After weeks of shocking accusations, loud protests, and hardball politics, Judge Kavanaugh is now Justice Kavanaugh. Fox News, "McConnell on marshalling the votes to confirm Kavanaugh," 7 Oct. 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

10 Aug 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



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).


marked by turns or indirection

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

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

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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