A ball is a round, usually spherical but sometimes ovoid, object with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch, marbles and juggling. Balls made from hard-wearing materials are used in engineering applications to provide very low friction bearings, known as ball bearings. Black powder weapons use stone and metal balls as projectiles.
Although many types of balls are today made from rubber, this form was unknown outside the Americas until after the voyages of Columbus. The Spanish were the first Europeans to see bouncing rubber balls (albeit solid and not inflated) which were employed most notably in the Mesoamerican ballgame. Balls used in various sports in other parts of the world prior to Columbus were made from other materials such as animal bladders or skins, stuffed with various materials.
As balls are one of the most familiar spherical objects to humans, the word "ball" is used to refer to, or to describe, anything spherical or near-spherical.
Famous quotes containing the word ball:
“I dont like comparisons with football. Baseball is an entirely different game. You can watch a tight, well-played football game, but it isnt exciting if half the stadium is empty. The violence on the field must bounce off a lot of people. But you can go to a ball park on a quiet Tuesday afternoon with only a few thousand people in the place and thoroughly enjoy a one-sided game. Baseball has an aesthetic, intellectual appeal found in no other team sport.”
—Bowie Kuhn (b. 1926)
“Throw down the ball, ye Jews daughter,
Throw down the ball to me!
Never a bit, says the Jews daughter,
Till up to me come ye.”
—Unknown. Hugh of Lincoln (l. 1316)
“It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively, without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind; Mbut when a beginning is madewhen felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, feltit must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.”
—Jane Austen (17751817)