to drop the ball
Ball Ball (b[add]l), n. [OE. bal, balle; akin to OHG. balla, palla, G. ball, Icel. b["o]llr, ball; cf. F. balle. Cf. 1st {Bale}, n., {Pallmall}.] 1. Any round or roundish body or mass; a sphere or globe; as, a ball of twine; a ball of snow. [1913 Webster]

2. A spherical body of any substance or size used to play with, as by throwing, knocking, kicking, etc. [1913 Webster]

3. A general name for games in which a ball is thrown, kicked, or knocked. See {Baseball}, and {Football}. [1913 Webster]

4. Any solid spherical, cylindrical, or conical projectile of lead or iron, to be discharged from a firearm; as, a cannon ball; a rifle ball; -- often used collectively; as, powder and ball. Spherical balls for the smaller firearms are commonly called {bullets}. [1913 Webster]

5. (Pyrotechnics & Mil.) A flaming, roundish body shot into the air; a case filled with combustibles intended to burst and give light or set fire, or to produce smoke or stench; as, a fire ball; a stink ball. [1913 Webster]

6. (Print.) A leather-covered cushion, fastened to a handle called a ballstock; -- formerly used by printers for inking the form, but now superseded by the roller. [1913 Webster]

7. A roundish protuberant portion of some part of the body; as, the ball of the thumb; the ball of the foot. [1913 Webster]

8. (Far.) A large pill, a form in which medicine is commonly given to horses; a bolus. --White. [1913 Webster]

9. The globe or earth. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

Move round the dark terrestrial ball. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

10. (Baseball) A pitched ball, not struck at by the batter, which fails to pass over the home plate at a height not greater than the batter's shoulder nor less than his knee (i.e. it is outside the strike zone). If the pitcher pitches four balls before three strikes are called, the batter advances to first base, and the action of pitching four balls is called a walk. [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]

10. a testicle; usually used in the plural. [vulgar] [PJC]

11. pl. courage; nerve. [vulgar] [PJC]

{Ball and socket joint}, a joint in which a ball moves within a socket, so as to admit of motion in every direction within certain limits.

{Ball bearings}, a mechanical device for lessening the friction of axle bearings by means of small loose metal balls.

{Ball cartridge}, a cartridge containing a ball, as distinguished from a blank cartridge, containing only powder.

{Ball cock}, a faucet or valve which is opened or closed by the fall or rise of a ball floating in water at the end of a lever.

{Ball gudgeon}, a pivot of a spherical form, which permits lateral deflection of the arbor or shaft, while retaining the pivot in its socket. --Knight.

{Ball lever}, the lever used in a ball cock.

{Ball of the eye}, the eye itself, as distinguished from its lids and socket; -- formerly, the pupil of the eye.

{Ball valve} (Mach.), a contrivance by which a ball, placed in a circular cup with a hole in its bottom, operates as a valve.

{Ball vein} (Mining), a sort of iron ore, found in loose masses of a globular form, containing sparkling particles.

{Three balls}, or {Three golden balls}, a pawnbroker's sign or shop.

{on the ball} alert; competent and knowledgeable.

{to carry the ball} to carry on the task; to assume the responsibility.

{to drop the ball} to fail to perform as expected; to fail to live up to a responsibility. [1913 Webster]

Syn: See {Globe}. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • to carry the ball — Ball Ball (b[add]l), n. [OE. bal, balle; akin to OHG. balla, palla, G. ball, Icel. b[ o]llr, ball; cf. F. balle. Cf. 1st {Bale}, n., {Pallmall}.] 1. Any round or roundish body or mass; a sphere or globe; as, a ball of twine; a ball of snow. [1913 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • drop the ball — INFORMAL ► to make a mistake, especially by doing something in a careless or stupid way: »The staffer responsible for finding the right location had dropped the ball. Main Entry: ↑drop …   Financial and business terms

  • drop the ball — verb commit a faux pas or a fault or make a serious mistake I blundered during the job interview • Syn: ↑sin, ↑blunder, ↑boob, ↑goof • Derivationally related forms: ↑goof (for: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • drop the ball — verb To fail in ones responsibilities or duties, or to make a mistake, especially at a critical point or when the result is very negative. The movie ought to sputter out here, but Crowe and Cruise dont drop the ball. Syn: fall on ones face, fuck… …   Wiktionary

  • drop the ball — American, informal to make a mistake, especially by doing something in a stupid or careless way. For god s sake don t drop the ball we re relying on you …   New idioms dictionary

  • Drop\ The\ Ball — To let somebody down or to fail in an assignment, project, etc. Simon really dropped the ball for that customer …   Dictionary of american slang

  • Drop\ The\ Ball — To let somebody down or to fail in an assignment, project, etc. Simon really dropped the ball for that customer …   Dictionary of american slang

  • drop the ball — tv. to fail at something; to allow something to fail. □ I didn’t want to be the one who dropped the ball, but I knew that someone would flub up. □ Sam dropped the ball, and we lost the contract …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • drop the ball — fail to do or complete a task, not follow through    Who dropped the ball? I ll tell you who! We dropped the ball you and I. We need to take responsibility for our lives and our world! …   English idioms

  • drop the ball — mainly American mainly journalism to fail to do something that you are responsible for doing I admit it, I dropped the ball …   English dictionary

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