pick·​le·​ball ˈpi-kəl-ˌbȯl How to pronounce pickleball (audio)
plural pickleballs
: an indoor or outdoor game that is played on a level court with short-handled paddles and a perforated plastic ball volleyed over a low net by two players or pairs of players
Pickleball is a paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. This team sport can be played indoors or outdoors and takes place on a badminton court using a perforated plastic baseball (similar to a wiffle ball) and small paddles. The pickleball net is lowered to 34 inches for game play, and each game is played to a score of 11 points.The Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Journal
also : the ball used in this game
The day started out fine but a blast of chilly air soon blew through. When the clouds lifted there were strong winds which played havoc with the lightweight plastic pickleballs. Craig Garrett
pickleballer noun
plural pickleballers
Other local pickleballers said they love how accessible the sport is whether you're a man, woman, youngster or senior. They said it's likely one of the reasons the sport has become increasingly popular … Brian Arola

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Wellesley is not the only community dealing with pickleball noise complaints. Emily Sweeney, BostonGlobe.com, 2 Mar. 2023 In January 2023, Babel and Mitchell were teammates in a charity pickleball tournament hosted by Béis. Candace Mcduffie, Peoplemag, 9 Feb. 2023 Last year, comedian Stephen Colbert and CBS mounted a celebrity pickleball tournament, with the late-night host declaring that the sport is truly egalitarian. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 23 Jan. 2023 There’s also going to be a family member who will suggest replacing family football with a family pickleball tournament. Jason Gay, WSJ, 22 Nov. 2022 The second annual King of the Court pickleball tournament is slated for Dec. 11 at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, 201 W Atlantic Ave. Gary Curreri, Sun Sentinel, 18 Nov. 2022 And now in the category of Things That Will Teach You If a Celebrity Is Funny in Real Life, team names for the celebrity pickleball tournament, Pickled, have been announced. Jason P. Frank, Vulture, 7 Nov. 2022 This year, Strawberry Days will run more than a week, starting with a pickleball tournament on Friday, June 10. For Strawberry Days’ centennial anniversary last year, organizers shut down Main Street and threw a street party. Stefene Russell, The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 May 2022 Chico resident Troy Steffy, 57, was participating in a pickleball tournament at the park at the time. Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 May 2022 See More

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

Word History


pickle entry 1 + ball entry 1

Note: The game was invented in the summer of 1965 by a group of neighbors on Bainbridge Island, Washington, including then state representative Joel Prichard (1925-97), Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. According to one account, pickle was suggested by pickle boat, a boat in crew rowing made up of rowers not chosen by other teams (as pickleball was amalgamated from features of other paddle sports). Another account claims that pickle was inspired by a dog named Pickles owned by one of the neighbors (though it is also claimed that this dog was named after the sport). (See, among other sources, the website of the USA Pickleball Association, and www.pickleballportal.com.)

First Known Use

1975, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pickleball was in 1975

Dictionary Entries Near pickleball

Cite this Entry

“Pickleball.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pickleball. Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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