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

Examples of pickleball in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Amenities for residences include a recreation center with a clubhouse, gym, pool, pickleball court and a half-court for basketball. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 May 2024 Play golf, tennis, or pickleball, or take advantage of concierge arrangements for hot-air balloon rides, stargazing, biking, hiking, and more. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 25 May 2024 The developers proposed including a private park, clubhouse, pool, pickleball courts and a playground. Nick Rosenberger, Idaho Statesman, 23 May 2024 The Preserve is weaved through two championship golf courses and offers a health and fitness center that features a pool, hot tub, yoga room, tennis and pickleball courts, lockers, massage rooms, and a meeting room. Bang Advertising Staff and Correspondents, The Mercury News, 7 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for pickleball 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pickleball.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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

1973, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pickleball was in 1973

Dictionary Entries Near pickleball

Cite this Entry

“Pickleball.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pickleball. Accessed 12 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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