‘Have a Ball’: Definition, Meaning, Examples

By Carly Forsaith, updated on January 23, 2024

Have you ever heard the expression 'have a ball' and wondered what it means? If so, you're in the right place. In this article, you'll learn the meaning of this popular idiom, its possible origins, and how to use it in a sentence.

If you just want to know what it means, here's the short version:

  • When someone says they're having a ball, they mean they're having an extraordinary time. 

What Does 'Have a Ball' Mean?

When someone says they 'have a ball,' it doesn't mean they're about to start a good ol' game of baseball. This is an idiom, which means it can't be interpreted literally. All idioms have a figurative meaning.

  • 'Have a ball' is an idiom that means having a great time or having fun. It's often used to describe an enjoyable and entertaining experience.

If someone says they had a ball at a party or event, they're saying that they had a wonderful and enjoyable time. Have you ever had a ball at a particular event or celebration?

So how do you use it?

Let's take a look at an example. Imagine, for example, that you went ice skating with your friends on the weekend.

You might say:

We went to the new ice skating rink; we really had a ball. 

The idiom contains a verb ('have'), so you can also use it in its various other tenses and forms, including:

Where Does 'Have a Ball' Come From?

The origin of the idiom "have a ball" is a bit unclear, but it's likely related to the idea of a ball as a festive and lively social gathering. Historically, a ball was an event characterized by dancing, music, and entertainment, often associated with joyous occasions.

Over time, the expression evolved to convey the idea of having a great time or enjoying oneself at any type of lively and enjoyable event. It's one of those idioms that has adapted from its original context to become a more general expression for having fun.

Some sources attribute the idiom to American slang, others to British culture. Tracing the exact origin may prove challenging. All we know for sure is that balls were widely popular and a great way of bringing people together while showing off your social status.

Examples in Sentences

Now that we've covered the meaning of this idiom and its origins, here are some example sentences that use it.

We had a ball at the carnival, riding all the thrilling rides and indulging in cotton candy.

Despite the rain, the kids had a ball playing games and laughing during the outdoor birthday party.

Last night's concert was amazing—I had a ball dancing to the music with my friends.

The family reunion is a success; everyone is having a ball reminiscing about old times and sharing stories.

Even though it was a simple picnic, we had a ball enjoying the beautiful weather and each other's company.

At the beach, the children had a ball building sandcastles and splashing in the waves.

The office Christmas party was so much fun; we had a ball playing games and exchanging silly gifts.

The high school play was a hit, and the cast had a ball performing on stage for the enthusiastic audience.

Despite the challenges, the team always has a ball working together to complete the project.

The vacation was unforgettable; we had a ball exploring new places, trying exotic foods, and making lasting memories.

Other Ways to Say 'Have a Ball'

There are plenty of other ways to say you're having a fantastic time. They're great to use if you're looking for alternative phrases. Some of them are other examples of idioms.

Concluding Thoughts

That concludes this article about this popular idiom. To summarize, when someone says they're having a ball, it means they're really enjoying themselves.

Are you ready to learn more English phrases and expand your vocabulary? Check out our idioms blog for idioms, expressions, sayings, and more!       

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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