1 [bawl]
a spherical or approximately spherical body or shape; sphere: He rolled the piece of paper into a ball.
a round or roundish body, of various sizes and materials, either hollow or solid, for use in games, as baseball, football, tennis, or golf.
a game played with a ball, especially baseball: The boys are out playing ball.
Baseball. a pitched ball, not swung at by the batter, that does not pass over home plate between the batter's shoulders and knees.
a solid, usually spherical projectile for a cannon, rifle, pistol, etc., as distinguished from a shell.
projectiles, especially bullets, collectively.
any part of a thing, especially of the human body, that is rounded or protuberant: the ball of the thumb.
a round mass of food, as of chopped meat, dough, or candy.
Slang: Vulgar. a testis.
balls, Slang: Vulgar.
boldness; courage; brashness.
nonsense (often used as an interjection).
bolus ( def 1 ).
Horticulture. a compact mass of soil covering the roots of an uprooted tree or other plant.
Literary. a planetary or celestial body, especially the earth.
Mathematics. (in a metric space) the set of points whose distance from the zero element is less than, or less than or equal to, a specified number.
verb (used with object)
to make into a ball (sometimes followed by up ): The children were balling up snow to make a snowman.
to wind into balls: to ball cotton.
Slang: Vulgar. to have sexual intercourse with.
verb (used without object)
to form or gather into a ball: When the spun sugar balls, the candy has cooked sufficiently.
Slang: Vulgar. to have sexual intercourse.
Verb phrases
ball up, Slang. to make or become utterly confused; muddle: The records had been all balled up by inefficient file clerks.
ball the jack, Slang.
to act with speed.
to stake everything on one attempt.
carry the ball, to assume the responsibility; bear the burden: You can always count on him to carry the ball in an emergency.
drop the ball, to make a mistake or miss an opportunity at a critical moment.
keep the ball rolling, to continue or give renewed vigor to an activity already under way: When their interest lagged, he tried to keep the ball rolling.
on the ball,
alert and efficient or effective: If you don't get on the ball, you'll be fired.
indicating intelligence or ability: The tests show your students don't have much on the ball. The new manager has a lot on the ball.
play ball,
to begin or continue playing a game.
to start or continue any action.
to work together; cooperate: union leaders suspected of playing ball with racketeers.
run with the ball, to assume responsibility or work enthusiastically: If management approves the concept, we'll run with the ball.
start the ball rolling, to put into operation; begin: The recreation director started the ball rolling by having all the participants introduce themselves.

1175–1225; Middle English bal, balle < Old French < Germanic *ballaz; compare Old Norse bǫllr, Old High German bal, ballo, balla, German Ball, Dutch bal; perhaps akin to Latin follis leather bag; see ballock(s)

baller, noun

bald, balled, bawled. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
ball1 (bɔːl)
1.  a spherical or nearly spherical body or mass: a ball of wool
2.  a round or roundish body, either solid or hollow, of a size and composition suitable for any of various games: football, golf, billiards, etc
3.  a ball propelled in a particular way in a sport: a high ball
4.  any of various rudimentary games with a ball: to play ball
5.  cricket a single delivery of the ball by the bowler to the batsman
6.  baseball a single delivery of the ball by a pitcher outside certain limits and not swung at by the batter
7.  a.  Compare shell a solid nonexplosive projectile for a firearm
 b.  such projectiles collectively
8.  any more or less rounded part or protuberance: the ball of the foot
9.  slang See balls a testicle
10.  vet science another word for bolus
11.  horticulture the hard mass of roots and earth removed with the rest of the plant during transplanting
12.  (Austral) ball of muscle a very strong, fit, or forceful person
13.  have the ball at one's feet to have the chance of doing something
14.  keep the ball rolling to maintain the progress of a project, plan, etc
15.  informal on the ball alert; informed
16.  informal play ball to cooperate
17.  set the ball rolling, start the ball rolling to open or initiate (an action, discussion, movement, etc)
18.  the ball is in your court you are obliged to make the next move
19.  (tr) to make, form, wind, etc, into a ball or balls: to ball wool
20.  (intr) to gather into a ball or balls
21.  taboo, slang chiefly (US) to copulate (with)
usage  Sense 9 of this word was formerly considered to be taboo, and it was labelled as such in previous editions of Collins English Dictionary. However, it has now become acceptable in speech, although some older or more conservative people may object to its use

ball2 (bɔːl)
1.  a social function for dancing, esp one that is lavish or formal
2.  informal a very enjoyable time (esp in the phrase have a ball)
[C17: from French bal (n), from Old French baller (vb), from Late Latin ballāre to dance, from Greek ballizein]

Ball (bɔːl)
John. died 1381, English priest: executed as one of the leaders of the Peasants' Revolt (1381)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"round object," O.E., from O.N. bollr "ball," from P.Gmc. *balluz (cf. O.H.G. ballo, Ger. Ball), from PIE base *bhel- (2) "to swell" (see bole). The verb meaning "copulate" is first recorded 1940s in jazz slang. To be on the ball is 1912, from sports. Ball-point pen first recorded
1947. Ball of fire when first recorded in 1821 referred to "a glass of brandy;" as "spectacularly successful striver" it is c.1900. Ball and chain as a prisoner's restraint is recorded from 1835; as "one's wife," early 1920s.

"dancing party," 1630s, from Fr., from O.Fr. baller "to dance," from L.L. ballare "to dance," from Gk. ballizein "to dance, jump about" (see ballistics). Hence, "very enjoyable time," 1945, Amer.Eng. slang, perhaps back to 1930s in black slang.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

ball (bôl)

  1. A spherical object or mass.

  2. A bezoar.

  3. A large pill or bolus.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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