A ball is a round, bouncy object that is used in a variety of sports and games. It is one of the oldest children’s toys and is mentioned in the earliest literature and graphic representations of play. The earliest balls were spherical and used in soccer. Over the years, ball shapes and materials have changed, but one constant is their spherical shape and bouncy surface. Regardless of shape, a ball serves an important purpose.
The term ball has many meanings, from referring to a protuberance on a body part to being alert, knowledgeable, or competent in a certain task or activity. Many people associate this word with being an athletic performer, but a ball can also refer to a quality or skill necessary to perform well in school or work. The fifth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary includes the word “ball.”
Balls are made from various materials, including leather, rubber, and synthetics. Indigenous materials, like the albatross’ web filled with goose feathers, were also used in ball games. For example, the Yahgan in South America created a ball called the kalakaball out of a seal’s inflated stomach. Native Americans in North America made balls from buckskin bags filled with seeds. They adapted the term “ball” to refer to a variety of spherical objects.
The word ball is ambiguous when used in its most common sense. A ball is a spherical object that is movable and can be solid or hollow. It is a commonly used object in games, including baseball and softball. When a batter throws a ball, they aren’t swinging at it. The ball is not in the strike zone. Instead, a batter throws a pitch to the ball.
The term “on the ball” is an idiom that means to focus on something. It’s an acronym for “on the ball.” It also means “pay attention,” and has its roots in sports. It may also refer to a sporting event. The phrase dates back to the 1800s, when baseball pitchers were considered talented and efficient. It became an idiom in the 1930s, but its literal meaning is not entirely clear. If you use it in an idiomatic sense, you’ll probably find the definition of “on the ball” in the dictionary.
Ball games began among American Indians during pre-Columbian times. Although the Romans had a distaste for participatory sports, they nonetheless facilitated ball games. Some Roman baths had ball courts for the residents. Middle American peoples also had ball courts. The ancient Roman balls were made of leather strips sewn together and filled with various materials. The harpastum was a hard ball filled with feathers, while the follis was a bladder filled with air, similar to the modern football.