On the Ball, to be

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Have a lot on the ball
Have something on the ball
Get on the ball

Meaning of Idiom 'To Be On the Ball'

To be one the ball means to be highly competent, capable, skillful, proficient, etc.; to be highly aware of what is going on and be quick to understand and react appropriately to things 1,2,3


"Is the computer fixed?" asked Turner. "David fixed it yesterday." said Ron, "He's really on the ball when it comes to that stuff."

"We've waited long enough, it's time to get on the ball and get this house fixed up."

"He must have something on the ball. He graduated from MIT, after all."

"If you need your house remodeled, call Anderson Home Improvement. Those guys really have a lot on the ball."


Used since the early 1900's, the idiom probably comes from baseball, where it alludes to throwing a pitch in a way that makes it very hard to hit, such as with a lot of speed, spin, or change in motion (i.e. a curve ball). 1,2

1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News - 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.
3. McIntosh, Colin. Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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