balls; balled; balling

Always round, often bouncy, a ball is a vital part of many games and sports, from soccer to four square to ping pong.

The most common ball is the kind you hit, kick, bat, or duck and avoid on a playground, court, or field. In fact, most sports involve a ball in one way or another. Another fun kind of ball is a grand party that usually includes dancing, food, live music, and guests dressed up in glamorous clothing. These two meanings have different origins — the "fancy dance" kind of ball comes from a Greek root, ballizein, "to dance or jump about."

Definitions of ball
  1. noun
    an object with a spherical shape
    “a ball of fire”
    synonyms: globe, orb
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    crystal ball
    a glass or crystal globe used in crystal gazing by fortunetellers
    camphor ball, mothball
    a small sphere of camphor or naphthalene used to keep moths away from stored clothing
    a ball that slides down a staff to show a fixed time; especially at an observatory
    the luminous center of a nuclear explosion
    a ball of fire (such as the sun or a ball-shaped discharge of lightning)
    a small globe or ball
    a small sphere
    a small sphere
    a small round soft mass (as of chewed food)
    a hollow globule of gas (e.g., air or carbon dioxide)
    type of:
    a solid figure bounded by a spherical surface (including the space it encloses)
  2. noun
    a compact mass
    “a ball of mud caught him on the shoulder”
    synonyms: chunk, clod, clump, glob, lump
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    clot, coagulum
    a lump of material formed from the content of a liquid
    a lump of slimy stuff
    a ball of yarn or cord or thread
    a blood clot formed within a blood vessel and remaining attached to its place of origin
    an abnormal particle (e.g. an air bubble or part of a clot) circulating in the blood
    type of:
    a jumbled collection or mass
  3. noun
    a more or less rounded anatomical body or mass
    “the ball at the base of the thumb”
    “he stood on the balls of his feet”
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    type of:
    anatomical structure, bodily structure, body structure, complex body part, structure
    a particular complex anatomical part of a living thing
  4. noun
    round object that is hit or thrown or kicked in games
    “the ball travelled 90 mph on his serve”
    “the mayor threw out the first ball
    “the ball rolled into the corner pocket”
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    a ball used in playing baseball
    an inflated ball used in playing basketball
    billiard ball
    ball used in playing billiards
    bocce ball, bocci ball, boccie ball
    wooden ball that is bowled in the Italian game of bocce
    a wooden ball (with flattened sides so that it rolls on a curved course) used in the game of lawn bowling
    bowl, bowling ball
    a large ball with finger holes used in the sport of bowling
    cricket ball
    the ball used in playing cricket
    croquet ball
    a wooden ball used in playing croquet
    field hockey ball
    ball used in playing field hockey
    the inflated oblong ball used in playing American football
    golf ball
    a small hard ball used in playing golf; dimpled to reduce wind resistance
    a small rubber ball used in playing the game of handball
    a small ball at which players aim in lawn bowling
    lacrosse ball
    ball used in playing lacrosse
    a small ball of glass that is used in various games
    medicine ball
    heavy ball used in physical training
    ninepin ball, skittle ball
    ball used to knock down ninepins
    ping-pong ball
    light hollow ball used in playing table tennis
    polo ball
    wooden ball that is struck with mallets in playing polo
    pool ball
    ball used in playing pool
    punch bag, punchball, punching bag, punching ball
    an inflated ball or bag that is suspended and punched for training in boxing
    the ball used in playing the game of racquetball
    roulette ball
    the ball used to play roulette
    rugby ball
    inflated oval ball used in playing rugby
    soccer ball
    an inflated ball used in playing soccer
    playground ball, softball
    ball used in playing softball
    squash ball
    rubber ball used in playing squash
    tennis ball
    ball about the size of a fist used in playing tennis
    an inflated ball used in playing volleyball
    Wiffle, Wiffle Ball
    (trademark) a hollow plastic ball with cutouts
    cue ball
    the ball that the billiard player or pool player strikes with his cue
    eight ball
    a black pool ball bearing the number 8; should be the last to go in certain pool games
    object ball
    the billiard ball that is intended to be the first ball struck by the cue ball
    shooter, taw
    a large marble used for shooting in the game of marbles
    type of:
    game equipment
    equipment or apparatus used in playing a game
  5. noun
    a spherical object used as a plaything
    “he played with his rubber ball in the bathtub”
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    beach ball, beachball
    large and light ball; for play at the seaside
    snow pressed into a ball for throwing (playfully)
    type of:
    plaything, toy
    an artifact designed to be played with
  6. noun
    a solid projectile that is shot by a musket
    “they had to carry a ramrod as well as powder and ball
    synonyms: musket ball
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    type of:
    pellet, shot
    a solid missile discharged from a firearm
  7. verb
    form into a ball by winding or rolling
    ball wool”
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    type of:
    roll, twine, wind, wrap
    arrange or or coil around
  8. noun
    a lavish dance requiring formal attire
    synonyms: formal
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    cotilion, cotillion
    a ball at which young ladies are presented to society
    fancy-dress ball, masked ball, masquerade ball
    a ball at which guests wear costumes and masks
    prom, promenade
    a formal ball held for a school class toward the end of the academic year
    type of:
    a party for social dancing
  9. noun
    the people assembled at a lavish formal dance
    “the ball was already emptying out before the fire alarm sounded”
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    type of:
    a party of people assembled for dancing
  10. noun
    one of the two male reproductive glands that produce spermatozoa and secrete androgens
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    a man's testicles (from Cockney rhyming slang: cobbler's awl rhymes with ball)
    undescended testicle, undescended testis
    a testis that fails to move into the scrotum as the male fetus develops
    type of:
    gonad, sex gland
    a gland in which gametes (sex cells) are produced
    male reproductive gland
    the reproductive organs of a man
  11. noun
    the game of baseball
    “there was a desire for National League ball in the area”
    “play ball!”
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    daisy cutter
    a batted or served ball that skims along close to the ground
    type of:
    baseball, baseball game
    a ball game played with a bat and ball between two teams of nine players; teams take turns at bat trying to score runs
  12. noun
    a pitch that is not in the strike zone
    “he threw nine straight balls before the manager yanked him”
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    type of:
    delivery, pitch
    (baseball) the act of throwing a baseball by a pitcher to a batter
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘ball'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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