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:
“[Children] need time to stare at a wall, daydream over a picture book, make mud pies, kick a ball around, whistle a tune or play the kazooto do the things todays adults had time to do when they were growing up.”
—Leslie Dreyfous (20th century)
“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)
“Life ... is not simply a series of exciting new ventures. The future is not always a whole new ball game. There tends to be unfinished business. One trails all sorts of things around with one, things that simply wont be got rid of.”
—Anita Brookner (b. 1928)