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To be intent and serious to the point of callousness; play for keeps: You want to play hardball, here we go
[1973+; fr the presumed distinction in difficulty, severity, and manliness between baseball, that is, hardball, and softball]
: fields hardball questions in a practice TV interview/ despite his hardball attitude toward sponsors of offensive TV showsnoun
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 incomeverb
play hardball (1973+)