9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[hahrd-bawl] /ˈhɑrdˌbɔl/
baseball, as distinguished from softball.
tough or ruthless:
He wasn't ready for the hardball politics of Washington.
outspoken, challenging, or difficult:
Reporters asked the president some hardball questions.
play hardball, to act or work aggressively, competitively, or ruthlessly, as in business or politics.
Origin of hardball
1825-35; hard + ball1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for hardball
  • Playing hardball often works in insurance, but it has drawbacks elsewhere.
  • They did not initiate this game of hardball, they say, but they are happy to play it.
  • His fervent pursuit of hardball education continues to complement his raw gifts.
  • In order to get him to relent, the publisher had to both pay a premium price and play a little hardball.
  • The hardball approach of his defenders is in large part a reflex of this loss of prestige and authority.
  • It seems curious that all the focus has been on the throwing of the bat, and not the throwing of the errant hardball instead.
  • But it's during the commercial break that the real hardball begins.
  • Lewis was sweet and politic, but he could play hardball.
  • There are effective ways to confront the skeptics, but you have to realize these guys are playing hardball.
  • He is seen as a scrappy, tough trader type who knows how to play hardball in the often brutal world of distressed debt.
British Dictionary definitions for hardball


(US & Canadian) baseball as distinct from softball
(informal, mainly US & Canadian) play hardball, to act in a ruthless or uncompromising way
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for hardball

1883 as the name of a game, from hard + ball (n.1). The figurative sense of "tough, uncompromising behavior" is from 1973.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for hardball



: fields hardball questions in a practice TV interview/ despite his hardball attitude toward sponsors of offensive TV shows


Serious and consequential activity, work, etc; perilous and responsible doings: It's hardball now, it's not games anymore/ It's going to be hard ball. We're talking about physicians losing income


play hardball (1973+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for hardball

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hardball

Scrabble Words With Friends