on the ball

on the ball
Ball Ball (b[add]l), n. [OE. bal, balle; akin to OHG. balla, palla, G. ball, Icel. b["o]llr, ball; cf. F. balle. Cf. 1st {Bale}, n., {Pallmall}.] 1. Any round or roundish body or mass; a sphere or globe; as, a ball of twine; a ball of snow. [1913 Webster]

2. A spherical body of any substance or size used to play with, as by throwing, knocking, kicking, etc. [1913 Webster]

3. A general name for games in which a ball is thrown, kicked, or knocked. See {Baseball}, and {Football}. [1913 Webster]

4. Any solid spherical, cylindrical, or conical projectile of lead or iron, to be discharged from a firearm; as, a cannon ball; a rifle ball; -- often used collectively; as, powder and ball. Spherical balls for the smaller firearms are commonly called {bullets}. [1913 Webster]

5. (Pyrotechnics & Mil.) A flaming, roundish body shot into the air; a case filled with combustibles intended to burst and give light or set fire, or to produce smoke or stench; as, a fire ball; a stink ball. [1913 Webster]

6. (Print.) A leather-covered cushion, fastened to a handle called a ballstock; -- formerly used by printers for inking the form, but now superseded by the roller. [1913 Webster]

7. A roundish protuberant portion of some part of the body; as, the ball of the thumb; the ball of the foot. [1913 Webster]

8. (Far.) A large pill, a form in which medicine is commonly given to horses; a bolus. --White. [1913 Webster]

9. The globe or earth. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

Move round the dark terrestrial ball. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

10. (Baseball) A pitched ball, not struck at by the batter, which fails to pass over the home plate at a height not greater than the batter's shoulder nor less than his knee (i.e. it is outside the strike zone). If the pitcher pitches four balls before three strikes are called, the batter advances to first base, and the action of pitching four balls is called a walk. [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]

10. a testicle; usually used in the plural. [vulgar] [PJC]

11. pl. courage; nerve. [vulgar] [PJC]

{Ball and socket joint}, a joint in which a ball moves within a socket, so as to admit of motion in every direction within certain limits.

{Ball bearings}, a mechanical device for lessening the friction of axle bearings by means of small loose metal balls.

{Ball cartridge}, a cartridge containing a ball, as distinguished from a blank cartridge, containing only powder.

{Ball cock}, a faucet or valve which is opened or closed by the fall or rise of a ball floating in water at the end of a lever.

{Ball gudgeon}, a pivot of a spherical form, which permits lateral deflection of the arbor or shaft, while retaining the pivot in its socket. --Knight.

{Ball lever}, the lever used in a ball cock.

{Ball of the eye}, the eye itself, as distinguished from its lids and socket; -- formerly, the pupil of the eye.

{Ball valve} (Mach.), a contrivance by which a ball, placed in a circular cup with a hole in its bottom, operates as a valve.

{Ball vein} (Mining), a sort of iron ore, found in loose masses of a globular form, containing sparkling particles.

{Three balls}, or {Three golden balls}, a pawnbroker's sign or shop.

{on the ball} alert; competent and knowledgeable.

{to carry the ball} to carry on the task; to assume the responsibility.

{to drop the ball} to fail to perform as expected; to fail to live up to a responsibility. [1913 Webster]

Syn: See {Globe}. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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