jump ball


: a method of putting a basketball into play by tossing it into the air between two opponents who jump up and attempt to tap the ball to a teammate
also : a ball put into play in this manner

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web But DeSoto head coach Richard Bacon said this game was lost before the jump ball. Lia Assimakopoulos, Dallas News, 10 Mar. 2023 Then-governor Edgar D. Whitcomb attended, tossing the ceremonial jump ball. IndyStar, 2 Mar. 2021 Green tried to tie up Hayward for a jump ball. Larry Starks, USA TODAY, 26 Feb. 2021 The alley-oop and the jump ball. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Nov. 2020 Police commissioner Michael Cox threw the jump ball to open the game. Ethan Fuller, BostonGlobe.com, 2 Apr. 2023 On a first-and-10 play midway through the fourth quarter, with no deep safety shaded toward Bateman and Cleveland sending a five-man pressure package, Huntley threw a jump ball down the left sideline, trusting that Bateman would beat out cornerback Greedy Williams. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, 15 Dec. 2021 All the same, 40% is pretty close to a jump ball. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune Crypto, 7 Mar. 2023 Now, the initiative is a bit of a jump ball. CBS News, 1 Mar. 2023 See More

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

1924, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of jump ball was in 1924

Dictionary Entries Near jump ball

Cite this Entry

“Jump ball.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jump%20ball. Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

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