1. Any round or roundish body or mass; a sphere or globe; as, a ball of twine; a ball of snow.

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

3. A general name for games in which a ball is thrown, kicked, or knocked. See Baseball, and Football.

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

5. 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.

6. 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cushion, fastened to a handle called a ballstock; formerly used by printers for inking the form, but now superseded by the roller.

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

8. <veterinary> A large pill, a form in which medicine is commonly given to horses; a bolus.

9. The globe or earth. "Move round the dark terrestrial ball." (Addison) 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, 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.

Synonyms: See Globe.

Origin: OE. Bal, balle; akin to OHG. Balla, palla, G. Ball, Icel. Bollr, ball; cf. F. Balle. Cf. 1st Bale, Pallmall.

1. <chemistry> To heat in a furnace and form into balls for rolling.

2. To form or wind into a ball; as, to ball cotton.

(01 Mar 1998)