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speed·​ball ˈspēd-ˌbȯl How to pronounce speedball (audio)
slang : a dose of cocaine mixed with heroin or morphine or an amphetamine and usually taken by injection
: a game which resembles soccer but in which a ball caught in the air may be passed with the hands and in which a score is made by kicking or heading the ball between the goalposts or by a successful forward pass over the goal line
: one that is outstandingly fast


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speedballed; speedballing; speedballs

intransitive verb

: to take a speedball especially by injection

Examples of speedball in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
After a brief stint of sobriety, Belushi relapsed during the filming of the 1981 black comedy Neighbors and was found dead of a speedball (a caustic mixture of cocaine and heroin) overdose in his Chateau Marmont bungalow by his fitness trainer and bodyguard Bill Wallace on March 5, 1982. Colin Scanlon, Redbook, 6 July 2023 Perry’s first film was 1988’s A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon, starring River Phoenix, who died from a speedball of heroin and cocaine in 1993. Sarah Hepola, Rolling Stone, 31 Oct. 2023 The fatal speedball shot was given to Belushi by drug dealer Cathy Smith who was later arrested and convicted of involuntary manslaughter for her role in the comedian’s untimely death after being extradited from Canada. Colin Scanlon, Redbook, 6 July 2023 And like most drugs, this speedball doesn’t come cheap. Tanner Bowden, Outside Online, 18 Aug. 2022 Some 18 months later, the 27-year-old Neo-expressionist master died from a speedball overdose. Natasha Gural, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 One of the latest transplant recipients is the 2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye, a 797-hp speedball of nostalgia and excess. Maxwell B. Mortimer, Car and Driver, 23 Nov. 2020

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


1905, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1970, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of speedball was in 1905

Dictionary Entries Near speedball

Cite this Entry

“Speedball.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speedball. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

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