• enPR: bôl, IPA: /bɔːl/
  • (Canada, cot-caught) IPA: /bɑl/


  1. A solid or hollow sphere, or roughly spherical mass.
    a ball of spittle; a fecal ball
    1. A quantity of string, thread, etc., wound into a spherical shape.
      a ball of wool; a ball of twine
    2. (ballistics, firearms) A solid, spherical nonexplosive missile for a cannon, rifle, gun, etc.
      1. A jacketed non-expanding bullet, typically of military origin.
      2. (uncountable, obsolete) Such bullets collectively.
        • 1659, Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, England’s Confusion, London, p. 7,
          […] the Good Old Cause, which, as they seemed to represent it, smelt of Gunpowder and ball […]
        • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, London: W. Taylor, p. 294,
          I gave each of them a Musket with a Firelock on it, and about eight Charges of Powder and Ball, charging them to be very good Husbands of both, and not to use either of them but upon urgent Occasion.
        • 1803, Robert Charles Dallas, The History of the Maroons, London: Longman and Rees, Volume 1, Letter 5, p. 148,
          […] some headstrong Maroons were using a soldier of Captain Craskell’s ill, and compelling him to write to his commander, that it was too late to do any thing good, and that they wanted nothing, having got plenty of powder and ball […]
    3. A roundish protuberant portion of some part of the body.
      the ball of the thumb; the ball of the foot
    4. (anatomy) The front of the bottom of the foot, just behind the toes.
    5. The globe; the earthly sphere.
      • c. 1712', Joseph Addison, Ode to the Creator of the World
        What, though in solemn Silence, all
        Move round the dark terrestrial Ball!'''.
      • 1717, Alexander Pope, "Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady"
        Thus, if eternal Justice rules the ball, / Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall;
    6. (mathematics) The set of points in a metric space lying within a given distance (the radius) of a given point; specifically, the homologue of the disk in a Euclidean space of any number of dimensions.
    7. (mathematics, more generally) The set of points in a topological space lying within some open set containing a given point; the analogue of the disk in a Euclidean space.
    8. An object, generally spherical, used for playing games.
  2. (sport) A round or ellipsoidal object.
    1. Any simple game involving a ball.
      The children were playing ball on the beach.
      The children were playing ball in the garden.
    2. (baseball) A pitch that falls outside of the strike zone.
    3. (pinball) An opportunity to launch the pinball into play.
      If you get to a million points, you get another ball.
    4. (cricket) A single delivery by the bowler, six of which make up an over.
    5. (soccer) A pass; a kick of the football towards a teammate.
  3. (mildly, vulgar, slang, usually, in the plural) A testicle.
    1. (in the plural) Nonsense.
      That’s a load of balls, and you know it!
    2. (in the plural) Courage.
      I doubt he’s got the balls to tell you off.
  4. (printing, historical) A leather-covered cushion, fastened to a handle called a ballstock; formerly used by printers for inking the form, then superseded by the roller.
  5. (farriery, historical) A large pill, a form in which medicine was given to horses; a bolus.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Fußballen
  • Portuguese: bola do pé
  • Russian: поду́шечка

ball (balls, present participle balling; past and past participle balled)

  1. (transitive) To form or wind into a ball.
    to ball cotton
  2. (metalworking) To heat in a furnace and form into balls for rolling.
  3. (transitive, vulgar) To have sexual intercourse with.
  4. (ambitransitive) To gather balls which cling to the feet, as of damp snow or clay; to gather into balls.
    The horse balls; the snow balls.
  5. (slang, usually in present participle) To be hip or cool.
  6. (nonstandard, slang) To play basketball.
  7. (transitive) To punish by affixing a ball and chain
    • 1865, Camp Sumpter, Andersonville National Historic Site, Rules and Regulations of the Prison
      any man refusing to do police duty will be punished by the sergts by balling him the rest of the day.
Synonyms Translations Interjection
  1. (Australian rules football) An appeal by the crowd for holding the ball against a tackled player. This is heard almost any time an opposition player is tackled, without regard to whether the rules about "prior opportunity" to dispose of the ball are fulfilled.

ball (plural balls)

  1. A formal dance.
  2. (informal) A very enjoyable time.
    I had a ball at that concert.
  • (very enjoyable time) blast, whale of a time
Related terms Translations
Proper noun
  1. Surname

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